Go to virtually any MPA-related conference around the world and you’ll hear the same topics discussed. Fundraising, monitoring, enforcement, engaging stakeholders, etc. It is a truism that MPA managers face many of the same challenges, no matter their location. And there are a number of tools available to help them share solutions and lessons, from publications like this one, to reports, online discussion lists, and more.
In early January 2018, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a draft five-year program to guide leasing of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas for oil and gas drilling, from 2019-2024. The draft, which reflects the views of the administration of President Donald Trump, is aggressive. It would make over 90% of the nation’s total OCS area available to exploration and development. By comparison, the current five-year program puts 94% of the OCS off-limits to oil and gas exploration.
Amid the ever-expanding guidance on how to plan and manage MPAs effectively, it is becoming more challenging for practitioners to gather all the existing global standards they need to consider in one place. To help address this, IUCN has drafted a document that integrates its existing Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas Standard with its other relevant MPA policies and positions (distilled from multiple IUCN Resolutions and recommendations over the years).
In 2009, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Hoi An on Vietnam’s central coast announced its intent to become a model eco-city for Vietnam by 2030. This meant the city would re-plan itself to operate in balance with nature. That same year (2009), UNESCO named Hoi An and the nearby Cham Islands Marine Protected Area (30 minutes by boat from Hoi An) as the combined Cu Lao Cham World Biosphere Reserve, with goals to improve the income of locals and to protect several depleted species, including the commercially valuable land crab Gecarcoidea lalandii.
These recent articles on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.
Article: “Hydroacoustics as a tool to examine the effects of Marine Protected Areas and habitat type on marine fish communities”, Scientific Reports 8 (2018)
Canada designates seven new marine refuges to protect benthic species, habitats
The parent organization of MPA News and several other marine knowledge-sharing services has reorganized to become OCTO, or Open Communications for The Ocean (formerly MARE). OCTO has a lot of arms, so to speak, several of which you may already know:
If MPAs and the ecosystems and species within them had a legal right to be healthy and managed well, what effect would this have on sites? According to a campaign that proposes such legal rights, one outcome would be the end of the problem of paper parks. In other words, by allowing citizens to sue their governments on behalf of poorly managed or underfunded MPAs, this would provide a powerful new means to pressure agencies to manage their sites more effectively.
By Juan E. Bezaury-Creel, Francisco Ursúa-Guerrero, César Sánchez-Ibarra, and David Gutiérrez-Carbonell
The Revillagigedo National Park was designated by Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto on 27 November 2017, exactly one hundred years after the country´s first national park was created. Revillagigedo is now continental North America´s largest fully protected MPA, covering 148,087 km² – almost twice the size of Panama. No fishing activities, mining, or oil extraction will be allowed within the national park, and only strictly regulated marine tourism activities from liveaboards will be permitted.