Notes & News

MPA News

Correction

Due to an editorial error, the lead article of the December 2005/January 2006 edition of MPA News ("Sacred MPAs: Where Protected Areas Hold Spiritual Value for Stakeholders, and How This Affects Management") contained inaccuracies about the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. A corrected version of the article was posted on the MPA News website on 20 December. Among the corrections: the name "Gwaii Haanas" refers to the southern portion of the Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) archipelago on Canada's Pacific coast, not to the entire archipelago. MPA News sincerely apologizes for the errors.


New Zealand announces new MPA policy

The New Zealand government has released a new policy and implementation plan for marine protected areas, aimed at improving the coordination and transparency of national efforts to build a comprehensive and representative network of MPAs. Components of the policy include:

  • A consistent approach to classifying marine habitats and ecosystems based on best available science;
  • Mechanisms to coordinate a range of management tools, including a multi-agency approach to planning;
  • An inventory to identify where MPAs are required; and
  • A nationally consistent basis for planning and designating new MPAs, including stakeholder involvement.

The policy sets out several principles to guide the network design and planning processes. "In the past, the approach to marine protection has been fragmented," write Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton in the policy's foreword. "The MPA Policy does much better. It provides an integrated process, including regional consultation, for establishing a network of marine protected areas around New Zealand." The new Marine Protected Areas Policy and Implementation Plan is available at http://www.biodiversity.govt.nz/seas/biodiversity/protected/mpa_policy.html.


US governor proposes MPA for state's coastline

The governor of the state of Oregon, on the Pacific coast of the US, has proposed that all waters of the state's 476-km coastline, and extending seaward to the base of the continental slope, be designated a national marine sanctuary, with joint oversight by federal and state agencies. The base of the continental slope in these waters is 25-65 km offshore. Governor Ted Kulongoski announced the proposal in December 2005 in a letter to Oregon's congressional delegation, available online at http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/p2005/press_121505a.shtml.

The proposed boundaries of the MPA are consistent with the Oregon Ocean Stewardship Area, identified by the state in 1994 as an area worthy of protection and management. "The governor's vision of a national marine sanctuary encompassing the stewardship area is as much about the importance of fulfilling this responsibility [of protection and management] as it is about the merits of an national marine sanctuary," says Mike Carrier, Oregon's natural resource policy director. Carrier says the governor does not presume that the entire area mentioned will ultimately be designated a national marine sanctuary. The governor has instructed the state's multistakeholder Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) to obtain public input and recommend boundaries for the MPA, which could end up being smaller than initially proposed.

Kulongoski has indicated he wants the sanctuary to include a ban on oil and gas drilling. Aside from that, he says, state and federal agencies would work collaboratively with indigenous tribes, ocean users, and the public to plan and manage all other uses and resources.

Robin Hartmann, ocean program director for Oregon Shores (an NGO) and a member of OPAC, welcomes the governor's leadership on this issue but says other protection efforts are also needed. "The governor's effort to gain national marine sanctuary status will likely require years of work to develop and adopt site-specific management plans," she says. "In the meantime, Oregon must take steps to use what we know to protect key ecosystems now."

For more information

Mike Carrier, Natural Resource Office, Public Service Building, 255 Capitol Street NE, Room 126, Salem, OR 97301, USA. Tel: +1 503 986 6525; E-mail: Michael.Carrier [at] state.or.us

Robin Hartmann, Oregon Shores, P.O. Box 1344, Depoe Bay, OR 97341, USA. Tel: +1 541 672 3694; E-mail: robin [at] oregonshores.org


Articles available on implementation, management of MPAs

The December 2005 issue of the journal Conservation Biology provides a special free-content section dedicated to implementation and management strategies for MPAs, with cases drawn from sites worldwide. The special section was assembled by the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) and the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation based on a symposium on MPAs held at the 2003 SCB Annual Meeting in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. To access the articles, visit http://conbio.net/SCB/Publications/ConsBio/Search. Click on the link for the December 2005 issue (Volume 19), then scroll down to the special section.


Bottom trawling banned at three high-seas sites in Mediterranean

In January 2006, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the main intergovernmental fishery management body in the region, designated three ecologically important deep-sea areas as off-limits to bottom trawling and dredges. The decision is binding on all Mediterranean states. Declared as "deep sea fisheries restricted areas", the three sites are all on the Mediterranean high seas, outside of national jurisdictions:

  • The Eratosthenes seamount south of Cyprus;
  • A deepwater coral reef off Capo Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy, in the Ionian Sea; and
  • An area of cold seeps and associated chemosythetic communities (not requiring sunlight for energy) offshore from the Nile Delta.

Although considered to be in deepwater, the sites are shallower than 1000 meters in depth, and therefore were not protected under a 2005 decision by the GFCM to ban bottom trawling in Mediterranean and Black Sea waters beyond 1000 meters (MPA News 6:9, "Bottom Trawling Prohibited Below 1000 Meters in Mediterranean"). "Declaring protection status is an important achievement for these unique areas, and we hope that the GFCM will continue to support sustainable fisheries by declaring new protected sites in the very near future," says Sergi Tudela of WWF, which presented the original proposal for these closures to the GFCM scientific committee in early 2005. A WWF press release on the closures is available at http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/marine/news/index.cfm?uNewsID=57840.