By Ton IJlstra
Over the past 20 years, wind energy and MPAs have staked important spatial claims with regard to the Dutch North Sea – to the potential detriment of the Netherlands' commercial fishing industry. For this reason, the North Sea Foundation called in 2017 for an agreement among stakeholders that would preserve the country's North Sea ecosystem while enabling sustainable fisheries and the expansion of wind parks.
Canada joins Global Ocean Alliance, advocating 30% ocean protection by 2030
In early July, Canada became the 22nd nation to join the Global Ocean Alliance, a group of countries in favor of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. Current MPA coverage of Canada’s waters is 13.8%. Globally, the World Database on Protected Areas calculates 7.4% of the world ocean is under some protection.
Members of the Global Ocean Alliance support setting a worldwide ‘30×30’ target next year under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Started by the UK in 2019, the alliance now includes Belgium, Belize, Cabo Verde, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Monaco, Nigeria, Palau, Portugal, Senegal, Seychelles, Sweden, the UK, and Vanuatu.
A recent study by over 100 economists and scientists concluded that the economic benefits of protecting 30% of the world’s land and ocean by 2030 would outweigh the costs by a ratio of 5-to-1. Media coverage of the study is here, here, and here.
Last month, MPA News featured first-hand accounts from ten MPA practitioners worldwide on how the COVID-19 pandemic was already impacting their MPAs – from steep declines in tourism, to cuts in budgets and staffing, to increased poaching at some sites. The likelihood of a lasting global financial crisis, and uncertainties about the directions COVID-19 will take, threaten to prolong these and other challenges for the foreseeable future. If the MPA field does not prepare and adapt, it risks losing gains in protection that have been made to this point.
This month, we continue our coverage of the pandemic and financial crisis:
- Insights from Markus Knigge of Blue Action Fund on how the financial crisis could impact grants to MPAs
- Highlights from a June panel on MPAs and COVID-19, moderated by MPA News
- A list of additional resources, including guidance and grants
Blue Action Fund supports the work of NGOs to conserve oceans and coastlines in the developing world, including via MPAs. Based in Germany, the Fund is a private foundation that receives its funding from the national governments of Germany, Sweden, and France. Its relatively unique position – with one foot in the foundation world, and one in the government world – gives it a valuable vantage point on trends in the philanthropic sector.
MPA News asked Markus Knigge, executive director of Blue Action Fund, for his views on how the coming financial crisis could impact grant funding for MPAs.
On 2 June 2020, MPA News moderated an online panel discussion on the impacts of COVID-19 and the financial crisis on marine protection. The panel was part of a global, week-long, online conference for ocean action – the Virtual Ocean Dialogues, hosted by the World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action.
The panel featured:
- Nirmal Shah, Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles, an NGO that manages the Cousin Island Special Reserve, an MPA;
- Marina Gomei, Regional Projects Manager for WWF’s Mediterranean Marine Initiative; and
- Susanna Fuller, Vice President (Operations and Projects) for Oceans North, an NGO that supports marine conservation in Arctic and Atlantic Canada in partnership with Indigenous and coastal communities.
MPA News has excerpted the panelists’ remarks here. Edits have been made for length and clarity.
COVID‐19 and protected and conserved areas, PARKS, May 2020. Co-authored by 35 protected area practitioners, this essay suggests three potential scenarios for how the pandemic will impact protected areas and their role in society’s recovery:
- A return to normal;
- A global economic depression and decline in conservation; or
- A new and transformative relationship with nature – “the only sustainable pathway,” write the authors.
By John Bohorquez
Sometimes you can find insight in surprising places. As a graduate student who studies marine conservation and protected areas, I admit I found myself asking after the murder of George Floyd, “How could my work possibly be more useless right now?” It’s difficult to stay focused when there are so many other issues afflicting the world. Even this year’s World Oceans Week often felt like an afterthought.
But as this historic moment has developed, I have begun to see some parallels between my research in marine conservation and what disadvantaged communities in the US are protesting against just outside my door. How policing is conducted and how police are held accountable in each of these settings affects the wellbeing of all.
By Catherine Piante
The PHAROS4MPAs project, coordinated by WWF over the past two years, has explored how Mediterranean MPAs are affected by several maritime sectors, and how the environmental impacts of those sectors can be prevented or minimized.
The sectors studied were maritime transport, offshore windfarms, cruises, leisure boating, small-scale commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, and marine aquaculture. The project has released a set of practical recommendations – excerpted below – for MPA managers, maritime spatial planning (MSP) authorities, and businesses.
Scientists invited to sign letter supporting 30×30 target for MPAs
Over 100 marine scientists have already signed a letter calling on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to set a target to safeguard 30% of the ocean in a network of “highly or fully protected, well-managed MPAs and other effective area-based conservation measures” by 2030. The letter, coordinated by Marine Conservation Institute, remains open for more signatories as of this writing (mid-June 2020). To read the letter and add your signature, click here.
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