1st Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas

The first ever conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas will be held on the island of Maui in Hawai’I from March 29 – April 3, 2009.

Conference on Marine Mammal Protected AreasThe theme is MPA Networks and Networking: Making Connections. The conference will bring together MPA managers, scientists, and educators from around the world to engage in sessions that will provide a forum for sharing information on approaches to marine mammal management and conservation as well as the design and management of MPA networks.

“Networks are a hot issue in marine habitat conservation,” said Erich Hoyt, MarineBio Director of Marine Mammals, WDCS MPA Campaign Head, and a member of the conference steering committee and co-chair of the programme committee. “We are beginning to realize that without networks of MPAs, we don’t stand a chance of conferring adequate protection to diverse species and habitats. Humpback whales, for example, breed in shallow subtropical waters and feed in cold temperate areas around productive upwellings and ocean fronts.

Protecting their habitats can mean a network extending over the waters of several countries. It will help greatly if all the managers of these MPAs can work together for conservation.”

The ICMMPA conference is being co-hosted by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA and the NMFS Office of International Affairs. Supporters and benefactors include the governments of Australia and Monaco, the US National Park Service, NOAA Marine Debris Program, International Whaling Commission, and WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

Participants are already confirmed from more than 20 countries including: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Bangladesh, Sao Tome et Principe, Fiji, Micronesia (FSM), Samoa, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK and the USA. For more information, go to www.icmmpa.org.

Coral reefs: the good news and the bad

Elkhorn coral, Bonaire August, 2004
The good news? A survey of how well the world’s coral reefs are being protected was conducted. The bad news? Less than 2% of the world’s coral reefs are being protected. This is the problem that I have with Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – theoretically it’s a great idea. But when put into practice, it seems most MPAs are too small to make much of an impact. Continue reading

World’s coral reefs left vulnerable by paper parks

This is extremely troubling. What good are policies and plans if they’re written—then ignored or implemented but poorly monitored? What can we do to change this? Again, this seems a perfect example for why the world needs a global governing body with power to enforce and monitor policies. Is that too unrealistic to even consider?

World’s coral reefs left vulnerable by paper parks

First-ever analysis reveals that most coral reef protected areas are too small, far apart and are at risk from poaching and external human threats

Although 18.7% of the world’s coral reefs are within “Marine Protected Areas” (MPAs) less that 2% are within MPAs with sound management, scientists report in the June 23 edition of Science Magazine.

MPAs are designed to limit human activities in a particular location to protect the marine ecosystem within their boundaries. This new analysis provides an evaluation of the world’s coral reef MPAs based on their regulations on extraction, prevention of poaching, incidence of external human threats such as pollution, coastal development and overfishing, MPAs size and MPA distance to neighbor protected areas. Continue reading