MPAs, COVID-19, and the coming financial crisis: What impacts are practitioners already seeing, and how are they responding?

With first-hand reports from ten MPA practitioners worldwide:

  • We must be laser-focused on actions to keep our institutions and work afloat, by Nirmal Jivan Shah
  • Adapting on the fly to staffing and program challenges, by Emma Doyle
  • MPA monitoring organization loses its volunteers and financial base, by Alan Kavanagh
  • Long-term financial management of Dutch Caribbean MPAs will need to change, by Kalli De Meyer
  • This is an opportunity for governments to help fishermen support MPAs, by Javier Corcuera Quiroga
  • Success of MPAs depends on support from stakeholders, whose priorities may be changing, by Özkan Anil
  • MPA that relies on yacht tourism revenue is optimistic for a rebound, by Joseph Ierna, Jr.
  • Conducting fish surveys during this quiet time to understand the impact of people on MPAs, by Ruthy Yahel and Simon Nemtzov
  • Partnering with law enforcement for increased patrols, by Claire Arre
  • This challenge is likely to be harder than any before, by Sibylle Riedmiller

More resources on MPAs and COVID-19

Journal article

  • Impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on biodiversity conservation – click here

MPA cases

  • How researchers are studying the 0.4-km2 Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Hawai`i, where daily visitation has dropped from 3000 people a day to zero – click here
  • How the pandemic has led to an increase in zoning offenses in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – click here
  • How the collapse in cruise ship business has upended the budget for Glacier Bay National Park in the US – click here
  • How one MPA, Chumbe Island Coral Park in Zanzibar, has set up a crowdfunding campaign to help support it through this time – click here

MPA Science Corner: Gaps in protection – Southern Ocean MPAs – Invasion risk to MPAs – Marine predators – Mediterranean MPAs – Protecting a resilient reef – Priority ABNJ areas – Impact of a small no-take zone – Climate adaptation and MPAs

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

Article: Gownaris, N.J. et al. Gaps in protection of important ocean areas: a spatial meta-analysis of ten global mapping initiatives. Frontiers in Marine Science 6:650 (2019).

Finding: There have been numerous initiatives led by UN agencies or NGOs to map globally important marine areas, with each initiative applying its own set of criteria. This study is the first to overlay these initiatives, quantify consensus among them, and conduct gap analyses at a global scale. It finds that 55% of the ocean has been identified as important by one or more initiatives, and that individual areas have been identified by as many as seven overlapping initiatives. 

Notes & News: Niue – Seychelles – Great Barrier Reef – Mediterranean – High seas MPAs – The Skimmer – MPA readings – 2019 highlights – From the MPA News vault

Niue designates large MPA

In late April, the government of the South Pacific island nation of Niue formally designated the 127,000-km2 Moana Mahu Marine Protected Area, covering 40% of its exclusive economic zone. The MPA will be off-limits to commercial fishing, and is being paired with a downscaling of tuna fishing effort in Niue’s waters. The nation had announced its intent to designate the MPA in 2017 at the Our Ocean conference in Malta.