Canada designates three MPAs following years of cooperative planning
Canada has designated three new MPAs along its Atlantic coast. The MPAs at Gilbert Bay, Eastport, and Basin Head protect unique ecosystems, and their designations conclude years of public consultation on each. Consultation with stakeholders on the Gilbert Bay MPA, for example, lasted seven years; this MPA in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador will protect a genetically distinct population of northern cod (MPA News 4:1). The Eastport MPA, initiated by local lobster fishermen, will help to conserve two prime lobster spawning and rearing grounds, also in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Basin Head location, in the province of Prince Edward Island, has been designated primarily to protect a unique strain of Irish moss. Press releases on the designations and background information on Canada's Federal Marine Protected Area Strategy are available at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media/infocus/2005/20051011_e.htm.
Fiji designates five MPAs as part of network
Local chiefs of Fiji's Great Sea Reef have established five MPAs with permanent no-take "tabu zones" as a step toward meeting the nation's commitment to build an MPA network protecting 30% of Fijian waters by 2020. The Great Sea Reef, locally known as Cakaulevu, stretches over 200 km in length and is among the longest barrier reefs in the world. It is home to thousands of marine species and is an important fishing ground for local communities. Planning for the new MPAs was assisted by WWF and by the Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) Network, a program to help locally managed marine areas in the Western Pacific benefit from the collective experience of traditional leaders, conservation staff, and others (MPA News 5:8). For more information on the new Fiji MPAs and the LMMA Network, visit http://www.lmmanetwork.org.
Report: MPAs can protect against coral bleaching
A new report from IUCN states that, within the next 40 years, up to half of the world's warm-water coral reefs could be lost to coral bleaching unless measures are taken to protect reefs and make them more resilient. Co-authored by Rod Salm and Gabriel Grimsditch, the report Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching offers approaches for protecting reefs against climate change - a major cause of coral bleaching. These approaches include MPAs, which can relieve coral reef ecosystems from other stressors that can lead to bleaching, including pollution, sediment run-off, and overfishing. The report is available in PDF format at http://www.iucn.org/themes/marine/pdf/coral_reef_resilience_gg-rs.pdf.
Papers available on ecosystem-based management
The journal Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS) has published 13 papers under the theme "Politics and socio-economics of ecosystem-based management of marine resources". Although the journal is traditionally available by subscription only, this theme section is available online for free at http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps_oa/m300p241.pdf.
Guidelines available for applying precautionary principle
An international initiative to determine best practices for interpreting and applying the precautionary principle to natural resource management has released a set of 12 guidelines, based on the results of a consultative process carried out from 2002 to 2005. The precautionary principle states that action to protect the environment may be necessary before scientific certainty of harm is established. The "Guidelines for Applying the Precautionary Principle to Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resource Management" are available in English, French, and Spanish at http://www.pprinciple.net. The initiative is co-sponsored by IUCN, Fauna & Flora International, ResourceAfrica, and TRAFFIC.
Report available on socioeconomic monitoring in Western Indian Ocean
With the goal of improving the integration of social and economic concerns in marine resource management, an initiative is underway in the Western Indian Ocean to develop regional guidelines for socioeconomic monitoring. A new report documents the progress of this initiative, with results from a June 2005 project workshop in Mombasa, Kenya, organized by CORDIO, an international research program to respond to coral reef degradation in the Indian Ocean. The report describes potential roles of socioeconomic monitoring in the region, obstacles to establishing effective monitoring, indicators for measurement, and more. The monitoring guidelines are expected to be developed by late 2006. The 39-page Report of the Partnership Workshop on Socio-Economic Monitoring (SocMon) in the Western Indian Ocean is available online from ReefBase, at http://www.reefbase.org/References/ref_literature_detail.asp?refID=24451.