The Most Remarkable Month in MPA History: A Recap Of September 2016

MPA News

MPA News has been produced for the past 17 years, and a lot has happened in that time. Thousands of MPAs have been designated, hundreds of studies have been published, countless policies and laws have been implemented. But September 2016 was unlike any month we have seen. Over the course of 30 days, more happened in the MPA field than we have witnessed in such a span before:

  • An ambitious new 30% coverage target was set for the MPA field

  • New MPAs totaling millions of square kilometers were designated

  • Commitments to millions more square kilometers in MPAs were announced

  • A major report on ocean warming was published, with significant implications for MPAs as climate reserves

  • The long-awaited review of Australia’s national MPA system was released

  • Major new financing opportunities for MPAs became available

  • MPA coverage in waters within national jurisdictions surpassed 10% worldwide for the first time

  • And much more, all of which we’ll try to cover in this and upcoming issues.

Any of the above-listed items by itself would have normally been the lead article in MPA News. Because they all happened in the same month, we are not even able to include them all in one issue! In early September at the World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i, one attendee asked the assembled crowd, “In light of the flurry of recent MPA designations, have we entered a golden age of marine conservation?” September 2016 sometimes felt like it.

In this issue we recap the new 30% MPA target, the major MPA designations that have been announced in recent weeks, and new publications in the field. In our next issue (November 2016), we’ll explore new financing strategies for MPAs, including one that could revolutionize MPA funding.