Notes & News

MPA News

User-friendly guide on marine and coastal EBM offers several examples from MPAs

A new publication from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) applies a reader-friendly approach to help countries and communities move toward ecosystem-based management of oceans and coasts. Drawing on practical experience and lessons from around the world, the guide serves as an introduction to EBM principles and applications, and provides an overview of the general phases involved. It provides more than two-dozen examples of EBM in practice, including several from MPAs worldwide.

The 68-page publication Taking Steps toward Marine and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management: An Introductory Guide emphasizes that EBM can be implemented incrementally rather than as one big push. Quotes from experienced EBM practitioners are sprinkled throughout, offering first-hand advice on planning and implementation.

The guide was co-authored by multiple individuals with ties to Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM), the sister publication to MPA News: Tundi Agardy (MEAM contributing editor), John Davis (MEAM editor-in-chief), and Kristin Sherwood (MEAM editorial board member), together with Ole Vestergaard of the Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Branch of UNEP's Division for Environmental Policy Implementation. The guide's target audience is practitioners in the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. However, it should of help to a wider audience as well, including planners and decision-makers at all government levels and across multiple sectors - fisheries, transportation, tourism, environmental management, and more.

The guide is available for free. To download, go to http://unep.org/publications/contents/pub_details_search.asp?ID=6200.


Two more sites with marine coverage added to World Heritage List

At its annual meeting in June, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added Australia's Ningaloo Coast and Japan's Ogasawara Islands to the World Heritage List:

  • The 7050-km2 marine and terrestrial site of Ningaloo Coast, on the remote western coast of Australia, includes the Ningaloo Reef (one of the longest nearshore reefs in the world), the Cape Range mountains, and a 200-km coastline. Annual gatherings of whale sharks occur on the reef, which is also home to whales, sea turtles, and more than 500 species of tropical fish. The site's terrestrial component features underground water bodies with a substantial network of caves and groundwater streams.

  • The 79-km2 Ogasawara Islands site is primarily terrestrial, featuring 30 islands. The islands are home to a critically endangered bat species and 195 endangered bird species. The surrounding waters support numerous species of fish, cetaceans, and corals.

With these new listings, the number of World Heritage sites with marine coverage is now 45. Although that number is growing each year, it still pales in comparison to the number of natural terrestrial sites on the World Heritage List: 165. Fanny Douvere, who heads UNESCO's World Heritage Marine Programme, says work is underway to bolster the representation of marine heritage. "Efforts are being undertaken to support the nomination of new sites in marine regions that are currently underrepresented," she says. "A first expert meeting is planned to be held in the Western Indian Ocean and will focus on the identification of new potential marine World Heritage sites. Efforts are also underway to review the potential application of the World Heritage Convention to protect areas on the high seas."

The World Heritage designation is the highest internationally recognized status of conservation and is granted based on sites' outstanding universal value. Often the listed status enables sites to attract greater financial resources and other support (political and managerial) necessary for adequate conservation. Listed sites become subject to a system of regular monitoring and evaluation to ensure they continue to protect the special values for which they are inscribed on the World Heritage List. These monitoring exercises, typically conducted by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, prevent these marine sites from being "paper parks". When serious conservation problems are discovered, a site is inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

For more information: Fanny Douvere, World Heritage Centre, UNESCO, Paris, France. E-mail: F.Douvere [at] unesco.org; Web: http://whc.unesco.org/en/marine-programme


China designates seven National Ocean Parks

In May, China designated its first seven National Ocean Parks with the goal of ensuring a healthy environment and sustainable development for coastal tourism. The sites are distributed throughout the country's coastal areas with two in Guangdong, two in Shandong, and one in Guangxi, Fujian and Jiangsu. The largest site covers an area of 514 km2 in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province.

"The National Ocean Parks, which provide beautiful beach resorts for the public, can promote marine eco-environment protection and facilitate sustainable development of coastal tourism," said Chen Liqun of the State Oceanic Administration. These parks are distinct from other types of MPAs in China. For example, the country has 33 National Marine Nature Reserves, which ban or restrict exploitation of natural resources. In contrast, the National Ocean Parks aim to balance resource use with environmental protection under the principles of scientific planning and coordinated management.


Report: Canada should protect 30% of each marine bioregion in no-take marine reserves

A report co-authored by 14 marine scientists and published in May by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) calls on the Canadian government to designate no-take marine reserves in at least 30% of each of its marine bioregions, as well as plan and implement functional networks of MPAs nationwide. The report says that Canada, with less than 1% of its EEZ in MPAs and nearly no coverage in no-take marine reserves, lags behind other countries on marine protection.

The report provides guidelines both for selecting individual sites for MPAs (no-take and otherwise) and for planning networks of these sites. Potential reserve sites should be analyzed based on six general classes of ecological criteria, according to the report:

  • Uniqueness, rarity or special character;
  • Productivity;
  • Biological diversity;
  • Degree of naturalness/human impact;
  • Sensitivity/resistance to disturbance; and
  • Potential for recovery from disturbance.

The report recommends that functional MPA networks include a combination of large MPAs and no-take reserves, provide adequate representation and replication of habitats, and ensure connectivity between sites. The planning should also be based on a strong understanding of institutional arrangements and human communities, including respecting the rights and interests of Aboriginal peoples.The 60-page report Science-based Guidelines for Marine Protected Areas and MPA Networks in Canada is at http://cpaws.org/uploads/mpa_guidelines.pdf. CPAWS seeks endorsement of the guidelines by scientists around the world; you can add your name at http://bit.ly/CPAWSguidelines.


Study on MPA capacity-building programs in Mediterranean

A study is underway to assess MPA-training organizations and programs in the Mediterranean Sea. The intent is to formulate a capacity-building strategy by 2012 to support regional, national, and local needs for developing and managing Mediterranean MPAs. The strategy will be a public document that can be used by all governments, institutions, and scientific organizations to contribute to building MPA capacity.

The study is being conducted by the WWF Mediterranean Office, the Mediterranean Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), and the Mediterranean Protected Areas Network (MedPAN) with other Mediterranean national and regional partners. To contribute to the survey or to request more information, contact Francis Staub (fstaub [at] biodiv-conseil.fr) and Arturo Lopez (Arturo [at] makiwi.net).


Small grants program available for Mediterranean MPA managers

The Mediterranean Protected Areas Network (MedPAN) has a launched a grant program to support small projects at Mediterranean MPAs. With funding from the French Environment Global Fund, the Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and the MAVA Foundation, grants will be available to support:

  • Management planning / management assessment
  • Innovative funding mechanisms
  • Communication and environmental education activities
  • Stakeholder consultation and mediation processes
  • Sustainable management of tourism
  • Sustainable management of fisheries
  • Enforcement at sea
  • Ecological and socio-economic monitoring
  • Monitoring of invasive species
  • Monitoring and/or adaptation to the impacts of climate change

The maximum grant size is 20,000 € (US $28,000), and up to 10 projects will be selected. Grant applications will be accepted through 5 September 2011. For more information, go to www.medpan.org.