IMPAC1 update: availability of financial assistance for attendees

Financial assistance to individuals to help reduce their cost of attending the First International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC1) – to be held this 23-28 October in Geelong, Australia – has been made available through a grant to the congress from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. To qualify, applicants must be from one of the geographic areas of interest to the foundation: the Gulf of California (Mexico); Palau; the Federated States of Micronesia; Papua New Guinea; the Solomon Islands; Fiji; Indonesia; and the Philippines. For more information on applying, visit the IMPAC1 website at Later this month, the website is expected to announce the program of 160 international speakers invited to present in the concurrent congress sessions.

Project on precautionary principle invites input

An IUCN initiative to determine best practices for use of the precautionary principle in natural resource management is sponsoring an online consultation from 7-19 June to invite perspectives on the subject. (The precautionary principle states that action to protect the environment may be necessary before scientific certainty of harm is established.) The online consultation is inviting contributions from anyone with experience of, or interest in, the use of the principle, and will occur in the form of a web-based discussion on the project website. For more information, including on how to participate, go to Participation is free of charge.

Pew Fellows release MPA statement, set percentage goals for no-take zones

No less than 10% and as much as 50% of each marine ecosystem worldwide should be protected as no-take zones, according to a statement on MPA policy released this month by past and current Pew Marine Conservation Fellows, individuals recognized over the past decade for their global leadership in the field of marine conservation. The statement, signed by 38 fellows from 24 countries, is intended to help policy-makers achieve a goal set at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development: the establishment of representative MPA networks worldwide by 2012 (MPA News 4:3).

The signatories recommend that policy-makers take several priority actions. The actions focus on local involvement in planning, managing, and implementing MPAs; linking MPAs into networks; evaluating those networks; and taking global action to restore and maintain marine populations, habitats, and fisheries. The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation is administered by the US-based Pew Institute for Ocean Science. The statement on MPAs is available online at

Second report available from Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

A massive international project to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being – the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) – has released a report measuring the impacts of biodiversity loss worldwide and recommending solutions for slowing that loss, including in marine and coastal environments. The report, Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Biodiversity Synthesis, suggests that rates of global decline in biodiversity will continue or accelerate unless there is an unprecedented level of governmental and societal action in favor of conservation and sustainable resource use. Such action would need to address such factors as habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, overexploitation, and pollution. The report recommends several actions to take, including creation of a global MPA network, adoption of ecosystem-based management for MPAs, and incorporation of biodiversity conservation in fisheries management.

The MA was initiated in 2001 under the auspices of the United Nations and is governed by a multistakeholder board including representatives of international institutions, governments, indigenous peoples, NGOs, and business (MPA News 5:2). More than 1300 scientists from 95 countries have contributed to the assessment. The biodiversity report is available in English, with summaries available in other languages, at

Report offers snapshot of initiative to build learning network among Western Pacific MPAs

An initiative to help locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) in the Western Pacific benefit from the collective experience of their practitioners has released a report detailing the progress achieved toward project goals and the challenges faced so far. Those challenges, according to the recently released 2004 Annual Report of the LMMA Network, include difficulties involved in data management and the coordination of participants and projects dispersed across eight time zones. Begun in 2000, the LMMA Network involves 70 sites so far in Southeast Asia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, with a mix of traditional leaders, conservation staff, and others (MPA News 5:8). The overarching goal of the network is to determine the conditions under which LMMAs work in practice. The annual report and more information on the network are available at

Reports: Effects of climate change and chemical contamination on Arctic ecosystems

The WWF International Arctic Programme has released two reports detailing human-related threats to Arctic ecosystems: one on climate change (2° is Too Much: Evidence and Implications of Dangerous Climate Change in the Arctic) and one on chemical contamination of wildlife (The Tip of the Iceberg: Chemical Contamination in the Arctic). These concurrent threats – along with invasive species, habitat destruction, and other factors – illustrate some of the challenges involved in fully protecting even remote ecosystems. The reports are available in PDF format at

Links to updates on tsunami assessments

Scientists continue to assess the damage caused by the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Below are links to updated information:

ReefBase database of tsunami literature

IUCN Tsunami Taskforce