MPAs

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Ocean Reserves

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The next three years will lay much of the groundwork for the MPA field for years to come. As nations gear up to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 as well as Aichi Target 11 under the Convention on Biological Diversity — both of which call for 10% of coastal and marine areas to be protected by 2020 — they will face some decisions. Namely:

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From 5-9 June 2017, the United Nations Headquarters in New York hosted its first-ever Ocean Conference, attracting thousands of government officials and institutions to discuss implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans.

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By Chris Williams, Sue Wells, and Matt Doggett

The inter-relationships among science, policy, and management were the focus of a UK conference on MPAs organized by the Poole Harbour Study Group and the Estuarine and Coastal Science Association in May. This brought together a wide range of academics, practitioners, and regulators to discuss key issues and challenges facing MPAs both globally and nationally (full details available here: http://www.pooleharbourstudygroup.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Programme.pdf). 

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In September 2016, several institutions — Conservation International (CI), The Walton Family Foundation, the Global Environment Facility, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) — announced a joint effort to support long-term protection of Indonesia's Bird's Head region, a highly diverse marine area in West Papua, Indonesia.

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The public comment period remains open on the federal review that could result in major changes to five of the US’s largest MPAs: the 250,000-km2 Marianas Trench Marine National Monument; 12,720-km2 Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument; 490,000-km2 Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument; 1.5 million-km2 Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument; and 34,000-km2 Ro

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In late April, US President Donald Trump issued two executive orders that carry potentially significant implications for several of the country’s MPAs, including its largest ones. Both orders could lead to weakened protection for sites.

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These recent articles on MPA-related science and policy are all open access.

Article:An appeal for a code of conduct for marine conservation”, Marine Policy 81, 411-418 (2017)

Finding: Poor governance and social issues can jeopardize the legitimacy and long-term effectiveness of marine conservation practices, including MPAs. This paper reviews key principles and identifies next steps in developing fair social standards and a related code of conduct for marine conservation.

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