MPA News

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.

The big question for the MPA field: How effective are our MPAs? An interview with Jean-Luc Solandt

As the global MPA community approaches the 2020 deadline for meeting Aichi Target 11, it must achieve two potentially very different goals. There is the numerical goal of covering 10% of coastal and marine areas in MPAs. And there is the qualitative goal that the conservation be achieved through “effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems” of protected areas. Achieving the numerical goal will be easier than the rest. Take the UK, for instance. By the end of 2018, the nation had 297 MPAs that covered 23% of its marine estate (not including the UK’s vast Overseas Territories…

Letter to the editor: IUCN consensus needlessly ignores cultural MPAs

Dear MPA News, I am writing in response to your article “Sharpening our focus on MPAs for 2020 and beyond: The emerging consensus on what is and is not an MPA, and the key types of MPAs” (Dec 2018 / Jan 2019). I am somewhat challenged by the standards advanced by IUCN and others to constrain what we should consider an “MPA” to only those places where the primary objective is nature conservation. There are, around the world, many important marine sites where management is primarily focused on preservation of historic and cultural heritage resources. Under the new IUCN standards, these…

Perspective: Analyzing susceptibility of coastal MPAs to catastrophic land-based events

By Rafael Magris

In November 2015, 39 million cubic meters of metal-contaminated slurry polluted riverine and coastal waters in southwestern Brazil when a tailings dam failure occurred in a headwater of the Doce River catchment. (A tailings dam is used to store wastes from mining operations.) The plume of contaminated sediment ultimately reached several sensitive marine habitats including coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and habitats formed by coralline crustose algae. Much of the sediment accumulated in two marine protected areas – Santa Cruz Wildlife Refuge and Costa das Algas Environmental Protection Area.

Perspective: Thirty more marine mammal habitats awarded status as Important Marine Mammal Areas

By Erich Hoyt and Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

In late January 2019, the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force announced approval of 30 new Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in the North East Indian Ocean and South East Asian Seas Region. IMMAs are areas of habitat that are important to marine mammal species, and which have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation. On a map, IMMAs are “marine mammal layers” intended to spotlight areas that may lead to MPAs or other conservation outcomes, such as ship route or noise reduction directives, and may be used in the course of marine spatial planning.

MPA Science Corner: Network of no-take reserves – Drones for conservation – Coral Triangle conservation atlas – Designing MPA networks with multiple objectives – Converting an ad hoc MPA system to a real network

These recent articles or preprints on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access. Article: Rolim, F. A. et al. Network of small no-take marine reserves reveals greater abundance and body size of fisheries target species. PLOS ONE 14, e0204970 (2019). Finding: This study of Brazilian no-take marine reserves used Baited Remote Underwater stereo-Video and Diver Operated stereo-Video systems to sample reef fish and habitat inside MPAs and at comparable fished sites. It is the first study using these survey methods in the southwestern Atlantic, and demonstrates how a network of no-take reserves can provide benchmarks for biodiversity conservation…

Notes & News: Chile – Enforcement vessel threatened – Global Ocean Refuges – MPAs and human health – Ecosystem approach – MPA readings – Top MPA News articles of 2018

Chile announces southernmost MPA in the Americas On 22 January, Chile announced the designation of what is now the southernmost protected area in the Americas: the 144,390-km2 Diego Ramírez-Drake Passage Marine Park. The new MPA provides habitat for endangered species such as the gray-headed albatross, the black-browed albatross, the southern rockhopper penguin, and the macaroni penguin. It is a unique place on the planet: the Diego Ramírez Islands and Drake Passage mark the southern limit of sub-Antarctic ecosystems in the hemisphere, and the transition between Antarctic and sub-Antarctic biodiversity. A press release from the Pew Charitable Trusts is here, and…

Impacts of the US government shutdown on federal MPAs: Some of the world’s largest MPAs had just one person working at them this past month

Due to an impasse in recent weeks between US President Donald Trump and Congress over whether to spend billions of dollars to extend the wall on the nation’s southern border, about one-quarter of the government was shut down – with no funding to conduct operations – and most employees furloughed for a period that stretched to 35 days. Finally, on 25 January, President Trump announced the full government would be reopened for three weeks to allow time for more negotiations on the border wall. However, if there is no resolution by mid-February, another shutdown remains a possibility. The December-January shutdown heavily…