The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific knowledge on marine litter and ocean plastics. It is based in part on a longer, more detailed article from November 2017 by MPA News’ affiliated service Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM).
If you are interested in this topic, please note that OCTO – the organization that produces MPA News and MEAM – also runs the global discussion list on marine litter and ocean plastics: MarineDebris.Info. It is a thriving community. In April 2018, for example, there were over 170 member posts to the list. To subscribe to the MarineDebris.Info email discussion list, click here.
By Carlos A. Espinosa and Néstor J. Windevoxhel
The challenges facing coastal and marine protected areas in Central America remain as serious as ever. And in some ways they are getting worse.
In last month’s MPA News, we examined the ongoing debate over the value of large vs. small MPAs: whether MPA designations should focus on large offshore sites or smaller inshore ones. This debate has been going on for many years, and we’ve reported on aspects of it several times.
By Anne Nelson
The effective management of MPA networks requires an array of elements. These include having adequate technical capacity of site managers, good science, committed leadership at multiple levels (sites, agencies, and policy makers), shared goals among MPAs, and monitoring of the network’s ecological effectiveness.
Importantly, it also requires good connectivity among site managers – in other words, a social network.
These recent articles or preprints on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.
Article: Suchley, A. & Alvarez-Filip, L. “Local human activities limit marine protection efficacy on Caribbean coral reefs.” Conservation Letters e12571 (2018)
Volcano fills in MPA with lava
A small, inshore, no-take MPA in the US state of Hawai‘i has been covered up by lava from ongoing volcanic eruptions on the archipelago’s Big Island. The 0.2-km2 Wai'opae Tidepools Marine Life Conservation District was designated in 2003, and was popular with snorkelers and swimmers. Now it is covered by lava rock. Hundreds of nearby homes were also destroyed by the lava flow.
An opinion piece published in the New York Times in March 2018 – “Bigger Is Not Better for Ocean Conservation” – raised anew the issue of whether MPA designations should focus on large offshore sites or smaller inshore ones. The author, Luiz Rocha of the California Academy of Sciences, called the trend of designating large offshore MPAs disturbing, and recommended such protection should not come before coastal waters are secured.
By Jeff Ardron
One unseasonably warm April afternoon this year in London, I sat in a packed media center watching five foreign ministers from Commonwealth countries explain why their governments were going to become ‘Commonwealth Blue Charter Champions.’ It was a pinch-me moment. One full day before fifty-three Commonwealth Heads of Government were due to adopt the Commonwealth Blue Charter, and already ministers were stepping forward to lead on it!
By Carlos A. Espinosa
The colors and warmth of the tropics make Central America unforgettable. These rich, vibrant coastal landscapes have inspired marine scientists, foreign visitors, and local inhabitants alike in their efforts to protect and conserve the most pristine marine zones throughout the region, on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides.