Notes & News

MPA News

Australia to compensate fishers impacted by MPAs

Under a new policy announced in January, the Australian Government will compensate fishermen and communities that suffer "significant and demonstrable negative impacts" from new or re-zoned MPAs in Commonwealth waters. The policy, detailed in a statement released in January, requires decisions on providing adjustment payments to be made by the Government on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the nature of each MPA and its impacts. In the event of a decision favoring adjustment assistance, management agencies, industry, and the community will be involved in designing the assistance program.

While there is no constitutional or legal requirement for the Government to provide such compensation, the policy states the payment framework will ensure "fairness and equity" in offsetting foregone profit or other impacts. Some state governments in Australia, including Victoria (MPA News 4:7), have already instituted programs to help fishermen adjust financially to MPAs in state waters.

The process of drafting the federal policy took six months and involved all relevant federal agencies and ministers, according to Peter Taylor, director of marine protected areas for Parks Australia. The official statement announcing the policy is available online at http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/mpa/displaced-fishing.html. Taylor notes that although the preamble to the statement suggests it is a "draft", it is in fact a final policy statement approved by the prime minister.

For more information: Peter Taylor, Parks Australia, Department of Environment and Heritage, GPO Box 787, Canberra 2601, Australia. Tel: +61 2 6274 1759; E-mail: peter.taylor [at] ea.gov.au


East Asian nations agree to designate more MPAs

Governments of 12 East Asian countries have agreed to designate new marine protected areas and coordinate their management of regionally important MPAs under an accord signed in December aimed at addressing a range of coastal and marine concerns in the region.

The agreement, called the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA), provides a package of principles, action programs, and instruments for integrated management and sustainable use of the marine environment and resources. Calling for improvements in fisheries management and reductions in coastal pollution, among other objectives, the strategy represents the regional implementation of marine and coastal commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (MPA News 4:3). The SDS-SEA is available online in PDF format at http://www.pemsea.org.


Report available on technology needs of managers; inventory underway on decision-support tools

Based on input from coastal managers, scientists, and technology specialists in the US, a new report from the National MPA Center documents the technological tools needed by MPA managers to help them map, enforce, and monitor their sites more effectively. Intended as a guide for the National MPA Center and other government agencies to design MPA-support services, the report cites needs as simple as cellular phones and digital cameras to aid enforcement, and as sophisticated as benthic habitat maps for inventorying resources. The report recommends that addressing these needs should involve communicating the benefits and costs of various technologies and improving accessibility of data and training, among other efforts. It is available online at http://www.csc.noaa.gov/mpa/mpa_needs.html. (Hard copies may be requested by e-mailing Greg Moretti at greg.moretti [at] noaa.gov.)

Managers interested in learning about GIS-based decision-support tools that are available at low or no cost may benefit from an upcoming inventory of such tools, underway at the National MPA Center's Training and Technical Assistance Institute. Intended to educate managers on the range and applicability of these tools, the inventory will provide detailed analyses on five or so instruments, including how they have been used at particular MPAs. In addition there will be a comprehensive list of all other known decision-support tools that are GIS-based and MPA-relevant. "Our goal is to raise the visibility of tools that are out there and spark ideas for managers for how they could be applied," says Kim Cohen, who is co-developing the inventory. The inventory is expected to be released by September 2004.

Readers worldwide who are interested in contributing a decision-support tool to the inventory - including tools that might still be under development - should send a brief e-mail to Cohen about the tool, any experience the writer has with it, and contact information. Her e-mail address is kimberly.cohen [at] noaa.gov.


Citing budget and staff concerns, California halts program to create marine reserves

The state of California (US) has halted a program to create a system of marine reserves throughout its waters, citing shortages of funds and staff to carry out the effort. The program, required by a 1999 state law (MPA News 1:3) and involving seven regional working groups to develop reserve options, is now on "indefinite hold" until the state has the necessary resources to restart and complete it, according to government officials. The state is in discussions with private organizations, including foundations, to see if non-governmental funds could help pay the bill, estimated at up to US$2.3 million to run the two-year working group process. "The state needs to be creative about alternative ways to design the process that are not so resource-intensive," says Karen Garrison of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental NGO.

The program has been handicapped by past delays. In 2002, state officials set aside two years of reserve-planning work by scientists in response to protests by fishermen that they had not had enough input in the planning process (MPA News 3:9). The state redesigned the planning process to feature working groups of stakeholders, but ran into funding shortages in early 2003, which have kept the working groups from meeting since then.

For more information: Steve Martarano, Office of Public Affairs, California Department of Fish and Game, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, USA. Tel: +1 916 654 5866; E-mail: SMartara [at] dfg.ca.gov

Karen Garrison, Natural Resources Defense Council, 71 Stevenson, Suite 1825, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA. Tel: +1 415 777 0220; E-mail: kgarrison [at] nrdc.org


Proceedings available from World Congress on Aquatic Protected Areas

Proceedings of the World Congress on Aquatic Protected Areas, held August 2002 in Cairns, Australia, are available in limited supply from the Australian Society for Fish Biology (ASFB). The 689-page, hardcover book costs AU$125 (US$95) per copy, plus postage and handling. To order a copy, contact ASFB President Dan Gaughan, WA Fisheries, PO Box 20, North Beach, WA 6920, Australia. E-mail: dgaughan [at] fish.wa.gov.au