MPAs are part of the management toolbox that can ensure sustainable use of the oceans and provide the world with fish proteins. Yet, even as benefits of MPAs related to food security, ecosystem services and livelihoods are known, we currently fail on our commitments to protect 10% of the oceans by 2020. Perhaps we need to look at the problem through a new angle: what if you woke up one day and all the oceans were protected? From now on, ocean users would have to make their case to convince governments of their need to have space allocated for their activity.
All posts in category Marine Protected Areas
All My Ocean News posts filled under Marine Protected Areas
Posted by Domino on March 16, 2013
Campaigners dismayed that ministers rejected advice to create 127 zones, which are intended to protect ocean floors
See on www.guardian.co.uk
- UK seas to gain 31 marine conservation zones (guardian.co.uk)
- Marine conservation group says UK ‘lacks ambition’ to preserve seas (guardian.co.uk)
- Ministers ‘lack ambition’ over marine conservation (telegraph.co.uk)
Posted by Domino on December 13, 2012
MORE than a third of Australia’s ocean will be protected under a Gillard Government plan to add 44 large-scale marine reserves to the national network.
Environment Minister Tony Burke will today unveil the government’s final network of marine reserves – the most comprehensive network of marine-protected areas in the world.
“For generations Australians have understood the need to preserve precious areas on land as national parks,” Mr Burke said.
“Our oceans contain unique marine life which needs protection too.”
Mr Burke said the government’s aim was to protect Australia’s unique marine environment, “while supporting coastal communities and marine industries around the country”.
“Over the coming months, the government will consult the fishing industry and fisheries management agencies on the design and implementation of a fisheries adjustment assistance package,” he said.
He warned it was too late to change the size of the reserves and their location.
“The question now is very straight forward: Do we go ahead with the most comprehensive marine park network in the world or do we not?” he said.
The new marine reserves take the overall size of the Commonwealth marine reserves network to 3.1 million square kilometres, and features:
The Coral Sea Region – which covers an area of more than half the size of Queensland – supports critical nesting sites for the green turtle and is renowned for its diversity of big predatory fish and sharks
The South-West Marine Region – which extends from the eastern end of Kangaroo Island in SA to Shark Bay in WA – is of global significance as a breeding and feeding ground for a number of protected marine species such as southern right whales, blue whales and the Australian Sea Lion
The Temperate East Marine Region – which runs from the southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to Bermagui in southern NSW – includes the waters surrounding Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands and is home to the critically endangered east coast population of grey nurse shark, the vulnerable white shark and has important offshore reef habitat at Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs and Lord Howe Island that support the threatened black cod
The North-West Marine Region – which stretches from the WA-NT border through to Kalbarri, south of Shark Bay in WA – is home to the whale shark which is the world’s largest fish and provides protection to the world’s largest population of humpback whales that migrate annually from Antarctica to give birth in the water off the Kimberely
The Marine National Park Zones (green on the national map) provide the highest level of protection, banning extractive activities including fishing and petroleum.
Passage of vessels is still allowed in those zones, as is tourism and some recreational activities, like diving.
The Habitat Protection Zones and Conservation Park Zones (yellow on the map) protect habitats such a coral reefs.
Some low impact extractive activities – including some forms of commercial fishing – are allowed in those areas, while recreational fishing and tourism are allowed.
The Multiple Use and Special Purpose Zones (light blue and dark blue on the map) allow for a greater range of activities, both recreational and commercial. Some activities, for example bottom trawl and gillnet fishing, are excluded.
It is expected that the final marine reserves will be declared before the end of the 2012.
See on www.dailytelegraph.com.au
- Australia creates world’s largest marine reserve network (guardian.co.uk)
- Australia to create world’s largest network of marine parks (cnn.com)
- Australia to Create World’s Largest Marine Reserve (treehugger.com)
Posted by Domino on June 14, 2012
Overfishing, global warming and pollution threaten to transform the ocean—and perhaps life as we know it.
IN 1998 a rise in sea temperatures caused by El Niño, a periodic eastward surge of warm Pacific water, caused a mass bleaching of the world’s coral reefs, the permanent or temporary home of perhaps a quarter of all marine species. Up to 90% of the Indian Ocean’s technicoloured reefs turned to skeletal wastes, largely devoid of life. Had this happened to rainforests—coral’s terrestrial equivalent—a sea-change in attitudes to the environment could have been expected. But because this change occurred in the sea, the calamity drew remarkably little comment.
Traditional attitudes towards the sea, as something immutable and distant to humanity, are hugely out of date. The temperature change that harmed the corals was not caused by human activity; yet it was a foretaste of what man is now doing to the sea. The effects of overfishing, agricultural pollution and anthropogenic climate change, acting in concert, are devastating marine ecosystems. Though corals are returning to many reefs, there is a fair chance that in just a few decades they will all be destroyed, as ocean temperatures rise owing to global warming. The industrial pollution that is cooking the climate could also cause another problem: carbon dioxide, absorbed by the sea from the atmosphere, turns to carbonic acid, which is a threat to coral, mussels, oysters and any creature with a shell of calcium carbonate.
The enormity of the sea’s troubles, and their implications for mankind, are mind-boggling. Yet it is equally remarkable how little this is recognised by policymakers—let alone the general public. Killer sharks are a more appealing subject than algal blooms; though they are much less deadly. There is also a dearth of good and comprehensive books on a subject that can seem too complicated and depressing for any single tome. Callum Roberts, a conservation biologist, has now provided one.
He starts with a bold claim: that anthropogenic stresses are changing the oceans faster than at almost any time in the planet’s history. That may be putting it too strongly. Yet there is no quibbling with the evidence of marine horrors that Mr Roberts presents.
Take overfishing. The industrialisation of fishing fleets has massively increased man’s capability to scoop protein from the deep. An estimated area equivalent to half the world’s continental shelves is trawled every year, including by vast factory ships able to put to sea for weeks on end. Yet what they are scraping is the bottom of the barrel: most commercial species have been reduced by over 75% and some, like whitetip sharks and common skate, by 99%. For all the marvellous improvements in technology, British fishermen, mostly using sail-power, caught more than twice as much cod, haddock and plaice in the 1880s as they do today. By one estimate, for every hour of fishing, with electronic sonar fish finders and industrial winches, dredges and nets, they catch 6% of what their forebears caught 120 year ago.
Overfishing is eradicating the primary protein source of one in five people, many of them poor. It also weakens marine ecosystems, making them even more vulnerable to big changes coming downstream.
For example, there is the matter of chemical pollution, mostly from agricultural run-off. This has created over 400 dead-zones, where algal tides turn the sea anoxic for all or part of the year. One of the biggest, at the mouth of the Mississippi Delta in the Gulf of Mexico, covers 20,000 square km (7,700 square miles) of ocean. An annual event, mainly caused by the run-off of agricultural fertilisers from 40% of America’s lower 48 states, it makes the one-off Deepwater Horizon oil-spill look modest by comparison.
Global warming is another problem. Hitherto, the sea has been a buffer against it: because the heat capacity of water is several times that of air, the oceans have sucked up most of the additional heat, sparing the continents further warming. Yet this is now starting to change—faster than almost anyone had dared imagine.
One effect of the warming ocean, for example, is to increase the density difference between the surface and the chilly deep, which in turn decreases mixing of them. That means less oxygen is making it down to the depths, reducing the liveability of the oceans. Off America’s west coast, the upper limit of low-oxygen water is thought to have risen by 100 metres. Where strong winds bring this water nearer to the surface, there are mass die-offs of marine life. Such events will proliferate as the climate warms.
This is a poor lookout for already put-upon fish. “Fish under temperature and oxygen stress will reach smaller sizes, live less long and will have to devote a bigger fraction of their energy to survival at the cost of growth and reproduction,” writes Mr Roberts. And that is before he gets to the effects of ocean acidification, which could be very bad indeed. Without dramatic action to reverse these processes, he predicts a catastrophe comparable to the mass extinctions of the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, when carbon-dioxide levels, temperature and ocean acidity all rocketed. He writes: “Not for 55m years has there been oceanic disruption of comparable severity to the calamity that lies just a hundred years ahead.” That would be hard to prove; it would be better not to try.
So what is to be done? Mr Roberts provides a hundred pages of answers, occupying roughly a third of the book. They range from the obvious—curbing carbon emissions—to technical fixes, like genetic improvements to aquaculture stocks. None is impossible; and Mr Roberts, almost incredibly, describes himself as an optimist. He writes, “We can change. We can turn around our impacts on the biosphere.” We had better do so.
See on www.economist.com
Posted by Domino on May 11, 2012
“Many people look at the ocean and they see water but it’s not just water. It’s a living system that shapes the character of the planet” – Sylvia Earle
A new global alliance aimed at rescuing our oceans from destruction was announced by World Bank president Robert Zoellick at the World Oceans Summit in Singapore last February. Beside saving our oceans, this partnership is intended to coordinate marine conservation efforts between countries, private companies and international organizations.
The Global Partnership for Oceans is a growing alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and private sector interests that will mobilize knowledge and financial resources to address threats to ocean health, resilience and productivity.
Oceans cover over two-thirds of the planet’s surface and represent a vital natural resource bank. Yet, they are facing serious threats – from overfishing to pollution that, if left unchecked, could threaten the stability of the ecosystem.
“The world’s oceans are in danger, and the enormity of the challenge is bigger than one country or organization. We need coordinated global action to restore our oceans to health. Together we’ll build on the excellent work already being done to address the threats to oceans, identify workable solutions, and scale them up,” Zoellick said in his keynote speech.
The success or failure of the partnership is likely to be determined by its ability to find funding. The partnership is committed to mobilizing at least $300m in catalytic finance and aims to use that to leverage another $1.2bn from businesses, NGOs and other institutions.
“The world needs a new philosophy. Not a philosophy of competition but a philosophy of cooperation. We survive or we perish together” Nana Nketsia, Regional Paramount Chief – Ghana
- New global alliance launched to save the oceans (telegraph.co.uk)
- World Bank launches global coalition for marine protection (guardian.co.uk)
- Global partnership aims to save the oceans (blogs.nature.com)
Posted by Domino on March 6, 2012