Queensland designates three MPAs with indigenous help

The Australian state of Queensland has negotiated with indigenous communities to designate three new MPAs to protect against the effects of coastal development on important underwater habitats. Called Fish Habitat Areas, or FHAs, the sites are the newest of 71 such areas designated throughout coastal Queensland (MPA News 6:3), and the first to involve indigenous interests in planning. Any activities requiring the disturbance of habitats within FHAs are either prohibited or require special authorization, depending on site regulations. Fishing is allowed.

The new FHAs, all in north Queensland, are the result of three years of consultation and negotiation between the state’s Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries and local indigenous communities. The negotiations largely involved exclusion of particular locations from the FHAs to allow for future small-scale development. Two of the new FHAs are on Cape York and together total 594 km2; the third is in Bowen and measures 197 km2.

For more information:
John Beumer, Marine Fish Habitats/FAD/DPI&F, GPO Box 46, Brisbane QLD 4001, Australia. Tel: +61 7 3224 2238; E-mail: john.beumer@dpi.qld.gov.au

Report available on MPAs in Tanzania, Zanzibar

A new World Bank report offers a framework for developing a comprehensive system of multi-use MPAs for Tanzania and Zanzibar within the next 50 years. Blueprint 2050: Sustaining the Marine Environment in Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar emphasizes the use of community-based adaptive co-management to build a flexible system of MPA networks. The Tanzanian government in 2003 announced its intention to set aside significant portions of its waters as multi-use MPAs in coming years, including 20% of its seas by 2025. Government officials have endorsed the new publication.

The report stresses incorporation of poverty reduction as a goal in MPA management. Jack Ruitenbeek, an independent consultant who co-authored the report with Indu Hewawasam (World Bank) and Magnus Ngoile (Tanzanian National Environmental Management Council), says managers who ignore poverty do so at their peril. “By ignoring the linkages between ecosystem management and poverty alleviation, threats to ecosystem integrity increase if local populations see MPAs as a threat,” says Ruitenbeek. “This has been a recurrent problem, for example, in enforcing the no-take areas of Tanzania’s Mafia Island Marine Park.”

Blueprint 2050 suggests that poverty improvement will arise from three mechanisms: greater fishery catches over time (namely from stoppage of unsustainable fishing methods such as dynamite fishing), availability of methods for generating alternative income, and greater local empowerment. The report recommends establishment of a Marine Legacy Fund to assist in funding the MPA system; the fund would draw upon multiple sources of income, potentially including deep-sea fishery license fees, tourism charges, and oil/gas royalty shares, among others. The 140-page report is available for US $20 from the World Bank bookstore. To order, go to http://publications.worldbank.org/ecommerce/catalog/product?item_id=4610653.

For more information:
Jack Ruitenbeek, 576 rue Etienne Deprez, 3 La Chataignerale, Crassy, 01220 Divonne les Bains, France. Tel: +33 450 99 06 37; E-mail: hjr@island.net

Report: 20-30% of UK waters should be no-take

The British government agency responsible for wildlife conservation has called for 20-30% of each marine habitat in the UK to be protected from all extractive use. In a strategy report released in March, English Nature said the scale of this protection was necessary to promote recovery of overexploited marine ecosystems, and that some habitats might require protection even beyond the 30% target. The report also called for introduction of a marine spatial planning system for UK waters, incorporating the network of protected areas as well as zones allowing various resource uses. The percentage-based call for no-take areas echoes that of a recent report by Britain’s non-governmental Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, which recommended that 30% of UK waters be set aside as no-take (MPA News 6:7). Currently, less than 1% of UK waters are closed to all extractive use.

The English Nature report marks a new approach in the UK, based on management of whole ecosystems rather than individual habitats and species. Many of the changes advocated by the agency, like the spatial planning system, would require enabling legislation from Parliament. A draft bill potentially including these changes is likely to be drawn up by the middle of next year, says Kate Bull, maritime protected areas officer for English Nature. “English Nature would like to see a fully operational marine spatial planning system in place in UK waters by 2012,” says Bull. She notes this goal is in line with a global target for establishment of representative MPA networks set at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (MPA News 4:3). The 70-page report Our Coasts and Seas: Making Space for People, Industry and Wildlife is available online at http://www.english-nature.org.uk/science/coasts_and_seas/default.asp.

For more information:
Kate Bull, Maritime Team, English Nature, Northminster House, Peterborough PE1 1UA, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1733 455071; E-mail: Kate.Bull@English-Nature.Org.UK

Book available on Barents Sea protected areas

A new book provides an introduction to the protected areas of the Barents region of Europe, comprising the northern parts of Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden, as well as the Barents Sea. Featuring detailed descriptions of 55 protected sites, including 20 with marine habitat or coastlines, the book establishes a baseline for measurement of resource protection in the region.

The site descriptions provide information on legislative status, geographical features, habitats, species, access, regulations, accommodations, and management contacts. An appendix lists 1200 additional protected sites in the region, including more than 200 marine or coastal protected areas.

Author Morten Gunther of Norway’s Svanhovd Environmental Centre says that although few protected areas in the region were designated specifically to protect marine biodiversity, there are sites with substantial marine portions. More than half of Russia’s 42,000-km2 Franz Josef Land Federal Zakaznik, for example, is marine: 26,000 km2. The main challenges facing MPAs in the Barents region, he says, are climate change, overfishing, and petroleum industry activity.

The 376-page Field Guide to Protected Areas in the Barents Region is available for NOK 348 (US $56) plus postage. To order, send a request by e-mail to fieldguide@svanhovd.no. More information on the book is available in PDF format at http://www.svanhovd.no and at http://home.online.no/~egnter/Field%20Guide%20Promo.pdf.

For more information:
Morten Gunther, Svanhovd Environmental Centre, 9925 Svanvik, Norway. Tel: +47 69 300 776; E-mail: egnter@online.no

Publication available on Russian MPAs

Russian Conservation News, a quarterly magazine, has produced a special issue devoted to marine and coastal protected areas in Russia. It is the first-known overview of Russia’s federal level MPA system, which consists of 31 sites in the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Black and Caspian Seas. In all, 93,000 km2 of marine area are protected under various regulatory frameworks. The 41-page special issue includes an introduction to general Russian MPA issues, case studies of eight MPAs, and data on each of the 31 sites. Russian Conservation News is published by the Center for Russian Nature Conservation, a project of the Tides Center, a US nonprofit organization. To order a copy of the special issue (Issue #36), send a US $5 check payable to “CRNC/Tides Center” to Russian Conservation News, PO Box 57277, Washington, DC 20037-7277, USA.

For more information:
Margaret Williams, Executive Editor, Russian Conservation News, c/o WWF-USA, 1250 24th St., NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA. Tel: +1 202 778 9573; E-mail: margaret.williams@wwfus.org

International workshop: establishing MPA networks

An international workshop will discuss an initiative of the World Commission on Protected Areas-Marine to develop a framework for establishing representative networks of MPAs by 2012, a goal set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in 2004 (MPA News 5:9). The workshop will examine the efficacy of the framework – developed for national policymakers and practitioners – and allow participants to share their experiences in establishing MPA networks. It is scheduled for 15-17 July 2004 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Discussions will cover approaches to planning and development of MPA networks at ecosystem-relevant scales, integrated within national and regional frameworks of sustainable development and marine and coastal management. Participation will be by nomination only; limited financial assistance will be available. For more information on the workshop, including a nomination form, e-mail Annie Hillary at Annie.Hillary@noaa.gov or Lynne Mersfelder-Lewis at Lynne.Mersfelder@noaa.gov.