Funding available for coral reef projects
Applications are due 15 November 2005 for the Coral Reef Conservation Grant Program, operated by the (US) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The program provides grants to international, governmental (except federal US agencies), and non-governmental entities working to protect coral reefs. Grants for Fiscal Year 2006 are available in four categories, including “Regional Enhancement of Marine Protected Area Management Effectiveness” and “Development of National Systems of Marine Protected Areas in the Wider Caribbean, Bermuda, Brazil, and Southeast Asia”. Proposed work must be conducted at non-US sites, and country eligibility varies by grant category. For details on categories and eligibility, go to http://ipo.nos.noaa.gov/coralgrants.html.
Organizers of the First International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC1) – to be held 23-28 October 2005 in Geelong, Australia – expect more than 600 delegates from 66 countries to attend. In response to requests for financial assistance, the IMPAC1 organizing committee has provided support to more than 65 delegates from developing nations or with indigenous backgrounds. The conference program and other details on the event are available at http://www.impacongress.org.
Huge Aleutian MPA approved
An area of nearly one million square kilometers in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska (US) is now off-limits to bottom trawling in an effort to minimize the effects of fishing on sensitive coral and sponge habitat, following a decision by the US federal fisheries agency (NOAA Fisheries) on 8 August. The permanent closure of 950,000 km2 – larger than France, Germany, and the Netherlands combined – is consistent with a February 2005 recommendation from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (MPA News 6:8). The management action leaves 4%, or 43,000 km2, of the Aleutian Islands management area open to bottom-trawl gear; most current and historic trawling activity has occurred in this 4% area. Concurrently, NOAA Fisheries approved closure of six areas with especially high-density coral and sponge habitat to all bottom-contact fishing gear, including longlines and pots. An announcement of the Aleutian management actions is at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/newsreleases/efhrod080805.htm.
Report available on enforcement in US MPAs
A new report from the US National Marine Protected Areas Center compiles a range of information on MPA enforcement in the nation, including insights on challenges faced by resource managers and perspectives on how to optimize enforcement. Although aimed at officials working to coordinate and enhance MPAs in the US, the report may prove useful to practitioners elsewhere as well: it reviews various theories on enforcement and compliance, and offers three detailed case studies on how particular MPAs are handling enforcement (Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and a federal fishery management area [Oculina Bank in eastern Florida]).
Enforcing US Marine Protected Areas: Synthesis Report is intended to provide a snapshot of current perspectives on MPA enforcement/compliance issues, and lay a foundation for improvements in MPA implementation. Authored by Braxton Davis and Greg Moretti, the 67-page report is available in PDF format at http://mpa.gov/virtual_library/Publications/enforcement.pdf.