In memoriam: Bob Johannes
Robert (Bob) Johannes, a champion for the inclusion of traditional knowledge in marine resource management, died on 2 September from a long illness. He was 66 years old. A marine ecologist who spent as much time studying people as fish, Johannes was a pioneer in the integration of traditional resource-management systems with Western-based science, particularly in the context of tropical fishing societies. He was an inspiration to many in the MPA field with his work to involve all stakeholders in effecting positive change. For more information on his life and where to send condolences, go to http://www.pewmarine.org/PewFellows/pf_JohannesRobert_tribute.html.
Prosecutions pursued for misdeeds on Great Barrier Reef
Two men - the master and assistant fisherman of a commercial fishing vessel - have been fined AU $27,500 (US $15,000) and AU $6000 (US $3300), respectively, for fishing illegally in a no-take zone within Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). It was the first prosecution under new federal provisions increasing penalties for illegal fishing in the marine park. The maximum fine for "intentionally or negligently using or entering a no-take zone of the GBRMP for the purpose of fishing" is AU $220,000 (US $120,000) for individuals and AU $1.1 million (US $600,000) for companies. In a separate case, enforcement officials in September seized a fleet of three fishing boats and twelve tenders observed allegedly within a GBRMP no-take zone, raising this year's number of fishing vessel seizures in the park to 30. For more information: Tom Baxter, Legal Officer, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, PO Box 1379, Townsville Qld 4810, Australia. Tel: +61 7 4750 0705; E-mail: t.baxter [at] gbrmpa.gov.au.
Mapping project proposed for Norwegian seafloor
A national, interagency project to produce multibeam sonar maps of Norway's seafloor, including its deepwater coral reefs, is now in the planning stage. Among other information, the MAREANO project would provide a detailed database of the location of coral reefs in Norwegian waters, enabling fishermen to avoid trawling such areas. Project planners also suggest the improved maps could help reduce fishing time and related seafloor disturbance by bottomfishermen, similar to the results of an ongoing multibeam-based project off the Atlantic coast of Canada (MPA News 4:2). Deepwater coral reefs consist mainly of hard, branching Lophelia pertusa; earlier this year off the Norwegian coast, researchers discovered what may be the world's largest Lophelia reef, measuring 35 km in length. The Norwegian environment ministry is currently reviewing nearly 50 candidate areas for MPA status, including the newly discovered reef. For more information: Terje Thorsnes, Geological Survey of Norway, 7491 Trondheim, Norway. Tel: +47 73 904275; E-mail: terje.thorsnes [at] ngu.no.
Canada to designate new national marine conservation areas
Canada will designate five new national marine conservation areas (NMCAs) under a plan announced this month, adding at least 15,000 km2 to the NMCA system. Awaiting designation after the completion of necessary consultations and negotiated agreements are two sites in waters off British Columbia on the Pacific coast (Gwaii Haanas and the southern Strait of Georgia) and a freshwater site in western Lake Superior. The two remaining sites are yet to be selected. Designation of all five sites is expected to come within five years. Parks Canada, which will oversee the new NMCAs, holds a long-term goal of representing each of Canada's 29 marine bioregions with at least one national marine conservation area. Earlier this year, the Canadian parliament passed legislation to provide a formal framework for the NMCA program (MPA News 4:2). For more information: Doug Yurick, Chief, Marine Program Unit Coordination, Parks Canada, 25 Eddy, 4th Floor, Hull, Quebec. Tel: +1 819 997 4910; E-mail: doug.yurick [at] pc.gc.ca.