First Nations and British Columbia sign marine plan implementation agreements

The Canadian province of British Columbia and 17 coastal First Nations (indigenous peoples of Canada) have signed implementation agreements for the marine plans collaboratively developed by the Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) for the North Pacific Coast. Plans were developed for four sub-regions: the Central Coast, Haida Gwaii, North Coast, and North Vancouver Island. The marine plans were completed in 2015 and include recommendations for marine management, uses, and activities to balance stewardship and economic development. The marine plans do not address management of uses and activities that the Province considers to be federal government jurisdiction, but First Nations and the Province are committed to working with the federal government on those issues. Read a press release about the signing of the implementation agreements and view overviews and full copies of the four plans. Read past MEAM coverage about the development of the MaPP marine plans.

South Africa requests comments on draft MSP framework

The South African Ministry of Environmental Affairs has published a draft MSP framework and requests comments on it by 18 September 2016. The framework provides a guide for MSP in South Africa’s ocean territory, including high-level direction for MSP legislation, policies, and integration with existing planning regimes. The framework is intended to facilitate the development, implementation, monitoring and revision of marine area plans throughout the country. Read the draft framework and information on how to send comments.

EU agrees to new deep-sea fisheries regulations

The EU has reached a deal on new deep-sea fisheries regulations. Measures agreed to include a prohibition on bottom trawling below 800 meters in EU waters in the northeast Atlantic and a requirement that areas of the seabed below 400 meters where vulnerable marine ecosystems are known or likely to occur be closed to bottom fishing unless they can be managed to prevent significant adverse impacts. The new provisions are intended to protect fragile marine ecosystems on the deep seabed. A plenary vote by the European Parliament on the measures is anticipated for November. Read the press release from the European Parliament. And view an infographic from the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and Bloom Association giving their assessment of how the new regulations compare to existing EU deep-sea regulations and UN General Assembly resolutions.

New frameworks provide guidance for Pacific Island deep-sea mineral development

The EU and Pacific Community (SPC) have released guidance for Pacific Island countries developing policy, legislation, and regulations for deep-sea minerals development. One framework provides an overview of deep-sea mineral deposit environments; potential environmental impacts of deep-sea mining projects; management and mitigation strategies; and an environmental impact assessment report template. The other framework, prepared in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund through the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre, provides an overview of key issues in the financial management of revenues and wealth associated with the potential development of deep-sea minerals. Access the environmental management framework and the financial framework for deep-sea mineral exploration and exploitation.

NOAA assesses use and potential use of ecosystem service valuation

The NOAA Science Advisory Board recently assessed the agency’s use of ecosystem service valuation (ESV) and the state of the field to ensure that the agency is using the most appropriate ESV methods and applying them effectively. Their review of different applications of ESV in the agency and how these applications were used (or not) to inform decisions, and their review of the scientific literature describing ESV methods, may be useful to others considering ESV work. Read the report.

Study finds Eastern Tropical Pacific ecosystem services worth US$17 billion

Scientists from NOAA, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the University of California San Diego Department of Economics have estimated a value of at least US$17 billion for several leading ecosystem services provided by the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean. Services examined include commercial and sport fishing, which were estimated to be worth at least $2.7 and $1.6 billion a year respectively, and the capture and storage of carbon that was estimated to cost at least $12.9 billion annually if not provided by the ocean. Study authors believe these figures are minimums and that true economic values are likely higher. Maps developed for the study show areas where commercial fishing, biodiversity, and recreational fishing often overlap. Access the study.