Latest MPA News Articles

MPA News

In 2012, Australia’s ruling Labor Government at the time designated an extensive system of Commonwealth Marine Reserves, increasing the nation’s MPA system from 27 sites to 60 and covering more than 3 million km2 in total. Described by the Government as the most comprehensive marine park network worldwide, the system included the new Coral Sea Marine Reserve, a nearly 1 million-km2 area of which half would be no-take.

The following year, a new Coalition Government was voted into power. The new leaders had campaigned against the reserve system, suggesting it had been imposed without fair or adequate consultation with industry. In response they instituted a review process to reassess the science and zoning of the new reserves. While the review process proceeded, the boundaries of the reserves remained but their management plans were effectively in limbo: their regulations remained as they were prior to designation.

MPA News

By Maru Samuels, Iwi Collective Partnership

At the heart of the global conservation debate is conservation itself. There is an ideological conflict in the answer to the question, what is conservation?

Nowhere has the conflict been more evident than in the photos that adorned the Hawai'i Convention Centre, the venue for the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress.

MPA News

By jacp [at] conanp.gob.mx (Jorge Antonio Castrejón Pineda), CONANP (adapted by MPA News)

High levels of marine productivity around National Park Isla Isabel — located off Mexico’s west coast — attract fishermen, who have used the park’s 1-km2 island as a temporary campsite for almost 100 years. In recent years, a growing number of fishermen and a lack of regulations on camping increased pressure on the island’s resources. Trees were chopped down for firewood. Native birds and reptiles were exploited. The land was used as an open-air sewer. To make matters worse, conflicts were arising between fishermen and national park operators.

MPA News

Canada closes two areas to bottom fishing

In September, Fisheries and Oceans Canada banned the use of bottom-contact fishing gear in two areas off the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The closures are designed to protect sensitive benthic areas, particularly the habitat for cold-water corals and sponges. Together the two new closed areas total more than 9000 km2. Background on the closures, including photos of colorful corals and sponges in the newly closed areas, is available here and here.

MPA News

On 26 August, US President Barack Obama expanded the boundaries of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands from its previous size of 362,000 km2 — already one of the largest MPAs in the world — to an enormous 1.5 million km2. The expansion creates the largest protected area, marine or terrestrial, on Earth.

MPA News

At the World Conservation Congress in coming days (1-5 September in Honolulu, Hawai‘i), there will be much talk about how the MPA community can best meet Aichi Target 11. That target, established under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), calls for at least 10% of coastal and marine areas...

“especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, to be conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures”

MPA News

In late July 2016 a group of recreational divers in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana in the US, noticed something weird. The water was green and hazy instead of the normal clear blue. Large and dense white mats of an unknown substance covered corals and sponges that had previously been healthy. And untold numbers of other reef invertebrates — including brittle stars, sea urchins, crabs, worms, and shrimp — lay dead on the bottom.

MPA News

A joint team of Portuguese and French researchers has proposed a new system for classifying MPAs based on what activities the sites allow and how those activities could impact biodiversity. The proposed system relies on scoring. An MPA that allows relatively impactful activities like bottom trawling, for example, would receive a different score than one that allows less impactful activities, like spearfishing. And both MPAs would receive a different score from an MPA that allows no fishing at all.

MPA News

Dear editor,

The article “MPAs as ‘eco-cultural systems’: Indigenous people and the intersection of culture and conservation” in your June-July 2016 issue illuminates an important element of the heritage of these places. Too often the indigenous communities have had to work much harder than they should to have MPA managers understand, recognize and integrate their perspectives into the stewardship of these sites.

Pages