MPAs for Whales, Dolphins & Porpoises

Hot off the press!

Erich Hoyt, MarineBio’s Director of all things cetacean and Senior Research Fellow with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society in the UK has just published a fully-revised 2nd edition of his book Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises. The new edition features 477 pages, 12-pages of color plates, 100+ maps, figures, tables, case studies…a wealth of information on this important topic that spans the globe. Continue reading

MarineBio Expeditions


We’re starting to think about scheduling expeditions again to gather data, photos, video, etc. of marine life and issues for marinebio.org. Check out MarineBio’s Expedition home page for the possibilities and contact us if you’re interested in joining us.

A Message From Sylvia Earle

Coral reefs off Florida
Editor’s note: Oceanographer Sylvia Earle believes we can save our seas and ourselves with an intelligent attitude to the Earth’s blue life-support system. Here she expresses her opinion for CNN.

(CNN) — Since I began exploring the ocean as a marine scientist 50 years ago, more has been learned about the ocean than during all preceding history.

At the same time, more has been lost.

Two weeks ago I testified before U.S. Congress on the ecological impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I did so with perspective gained while sloshing around oiled beaches and marshes among dead and dying animals, diving under sheets of oily water and for years — as a founder and executive of engineering companies — of working with those in the oil industry responsible for developing and operating sophisticated equipment in the sea. Continue reading

A Message from Erich Hoyt

A Message from Erich Hoyt on Defending Antarctic Toothfish in the Ross Sea:

I am a whale researcher and conservationist, writes Erich Hoyt, Senior Research Fellow with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and MarineBio’s Director of Marine Mammals. Recently I became very interested in toothfish in Antarctica. At up to 2.5 m long they can be the size of a porpoise or dolphin. Left alone, they live for up to 50 years; they don’t breed until they’re about 16 and not every year thereafter. But aside from some remarkably similar reproductive parameters how is this relevant to my interest in whales and dolphins? Continue reading

First high seas MPA in the Antarctic Region

The first high seas Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Antarctic region has been declared in an area south of the South Orkney Islands. The proposal was successfully pitched by the UK delegation to the meetings last week of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Tasmania. The South Orkneys MPA is situated in the northern Weddell Sea, east of the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula — a prime area for feeding humpback whales.

At just under 94,000 sq kms, the protection of the South Orkneys MPA is of a significant size. Overnight the global area of protected waters, with this announcement, increased by 4% according to Louisa Wood, from the IUCN Global Marine Programme. The global area of protected waters now stands at 0.92% of the world ocean — still far behind the land with as much as 12% protected, according to some estimates. Continue reading

Happy World Ocean’s Day

Let’s celebrate this first official World Oceans Day by recognizing the world’s 15 largest marine protected areas (MPAs) created to safeguard marine habitat around the world. Here’s the list and a bit about each one, plus some further comments and a special request below:

1. Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Kiribati (410,500 sq km) -— the largest MPA in the world, nearly the size of the land area of Sweden.

2. Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, USA (362,000 sq km) -— the highly protected Northwest extension of the Hawaiian islands with humpback whales, spinner dolphins, coral reefs.

3. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area, Australia (345,400sq km) -— one of the earliest MPAs and the first of any size, now 1/3 highly protected. Continue reading