Due to an editorial error, the September 2005 issue of MPA News misreported the dates of the upcoming Ninth Virgin Islands Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference, to be held in St. John, US Virgin Islands. The correct dates are 28-30 November 2005. MPA News apologizes for the error. The conference website is http://usvircd.org/NPS/NPSCFP2005.htm.
Report describes fishery restrictions in Caribbean
A new report from the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in collaboration with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas documents all areas of the Wider Caribbean region in which fishing is restricted, including MPAs. Initiated to inform managers, scientists, and policymakers on the status of regional fisheries management, the report provides data on no-take and no-entry areas, catch-and-release rules, gear bans, and other management interventions for each country, and also describes the species these measures are intended to protect. The data were gathered via surveys of fisheries and MPA managers. The report Fishery Regulations in the Wider Caribbean: Project Summary is online in PDF format at http://gipping.unep-wcmc.org/wdbpa/caribPa/lang.cfm. Funding for the project was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the (US) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the United Nations Foundation. An Asia-Pacific version of the project is under development, also by UNEP-WCMC, and should be available next year.
For more information: Ed McManus, Marine and Coastal Programme, UNEP-WCMC, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK. Tel: +44 1223 277314; E-mail: Edmund.McManus [at] unep-wcmc.org
Website: MPAs in Puerto Rico, Wider Caribbean
A new website serves as a clearinghouse of information on planning and management of MPAs in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean region. The site, Areas Marinas Protegidas de Puerto Rico y el Gran Caribe (Marine Protected Areas in Puerto Rico and the Wider Caribbean), provides links to relevant sources of information in fisheries management, fisheries biology, ecology, anthropology, sociology, and economics. New links are accompanied by brief descriptions in Spanish, with some translated to English. The site is managed by the Interdisciplinary Center for Coastal Studies of the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez, and the web address is http://www.amp-pr.org/blog.
Newsletter available on cultural, historic MPAs
Managers of MPAs with cultural or historic features face some unique challenges, not least of which is protecting such features from natural deterioration processes. A resource is available to help these practitioners stay up-to-date on the evolving science of underwater archeology and the management of maritime heritage sites. The Marine Cultural and Historic Newsletter, published monthly by the US National Marine Protected Areas Center, provides news and information on advances in research and management, with links to where readers may find more information. Although much of the newsletter's focus is on US-based work, each issue also includes news on international developments. Says Editor Brian Jordan, "We hope to promote collaboration among individuals and agencies for the preservation of cultural and historic resources for future generations." All issues of the newsletter are available at http://mpa.gov/information_tools/newsletters.html. To subscribe to the newsletter, send a message to Brian.Jordan [at] noaa.gov with "subscribe MCH newsletter" in the subject field.
Hawai'i designates refuge in state waters of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
In September, the state of Hawai'i (US) designated a 2645-km2 no-take marine reserve in all state waters of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), an archipelago that stretches westward from the main Hawaiian Islands for more than 1200 miles (roughly 2000 km). All fishing and other extractive activities are off-limits in the new NWHI State Marine Refuge, except for traditional practices of Native Hawaiians, which could include limited harvest.
In an announcement that accompanied designation of the site, state officials called on the federal government to institute equivalent no-take protection for federal waters of the NWHI, which are undergoing a separate management review process. These federal waters, designated in 2000 by former President Bill Clinton as the 340,000-km2 NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, contain several no-take zones but allow fishing elsewhere by a small number of commercial bottomfishing vessels (MPA News 6:11). The NWHI bottomfish fishery, valued at US$1.5 million annually, is almost exclusively in federal waters. Should the recommendation to close the federal waters be followed, state officials propose that the federal government and/or private conservation interests purchase the fishery permits of the vessels at fair market value to help ease the industry's transition to the restrictions.
For more information: Peter Young, Board of Land and Natural Resources, P.O. Box 621, Honolulu, HI 96809, USA. Tel: +1 808-587-0400; E-mail: PeterYoung [at] hawaii.gov