New Zealand proposes large no-trawl zone in EEZ

Deep-sea fishing industry leaders and the New Zealand government have proposed that a total of 1.2 million square kilometers of the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) be placed off-limits to bottom trawling and dredging. The network of closures would amount to nearly one-third of the nation’s EEZ. NZ Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton anticipates having regulations in place to implement the proposed closures by 1 October 2006, following a period of public comment.

The proposed closures would extend from subantarctic waters south of Campbell Island to the subtropical Kermadec region, comprising a range of depths and habitats, including seamounts. “These areas have had little or no trawling or dredging in the past, so we expect their ecosystems and habitats are relatively intact,” said Anderton in an official announcement, delivered to the first meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (

WWF New Zealand, a conservation NGO, called the proposal “a bold initiative” that represented “long-range thinking about protection of seabed biodiversity”, but added the organization would like to see inclusion of currently trawled areas in the closures to allow for recovery. Greenpeace, another NGO, expressed disappointment with the proposal, saying it included areas that were too deep to bottom-trawl anyway and fell short of Greenpeace’s goal of an outright ban on use of such gear.

The closures would be the largest single marine protection measure ever proposed within a nation’s EEZ, according to the NZ government. They would indeed be larger than the 950,000-km2 trawl closure designated in August 2005 for the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, USA (“Huge Aleutian MPA approved”, MPA News 7:3). They would be smaller than the 1.6 million-km2 network of trawl closures designated in 2005 for the Mediterranean and Black Seas, which primarily comprises waters outside national jurisdictions (“Bottom trawling prohibited below 1000 meters in Mediterranean”, MPA News 6:9).

Laffoley is named Vice Chair Marine of World Commission on Protected Areas

Dan Laffoley of English Nature, the UK’s statutory advisory body for nature conservation in England, has been named Vice Chair Marine of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), replacing Bud Ehler in the post. For the past decade, Laffoley has headed the marine conservation program for English Nature, and has held organizational roles in major conservation initiatives with marine themes, including the World Parks Congress in 2003 and the First International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC1), held in October 2005 in Geelong, Australia.

In a statement upon taking the Vice Chair position, Laffoley said, “We will need to continue to strengthen, globally and regionally, our efforts on putting in place individual MPAs as the backbone of our work. As IMPAC1 recently demonstrated, though, we need to move from sites to developing networks with an increased sense of urgency, and from poor underlying data to improved inventories that help identify priorities for future work and funding.” He also indicated his desire to improve public education on MPAs, involve young people more effectively with MPA-related initiatives, encourage the use of MPAs as benchmarks of sustainable development, and deepen WCPA’s engagement in discussions of marine climate change adaptation and mitigation. He anticipates developing a plan of action for the WCPA Marine theme in the coming year. Laffoley’s statement is available on the WCPA Marine website at

New regional network for Dutch Caribbean protected areas

Practitioners and conservationists have created a regional network of marine and terrestrial protected areas on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten, with the goal of sharing a combined pool of knowledge and expertise on the protection of these areas. An “umbrella” NGO, the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance, has been formed to build capacity for the new network through programs including fundraising, staff training, and strategic planning. The DCNA website ( will make information gained from the network available to colleagues worldwide.

Report: Mapping human activities for MPA planning

A new report describes methods for collecting spatial data on human use patterns to inform local and regional MPA-planning processes. Produced by the (US) National Marine Protected Areas Center, the report summarizes the results of a workshop on this topic held in late 2005 in California. Workshop participants, including social scientists, geographers, and GIS specialists, discussed and identified data associated with human activities in the marine environment, and assessed the applicability of GIS for storing and analyzing these data. Ultimately, the findings of the workshop are intended to aid the planning of effective and equitable MPA sites and networks, and complement efforts to conduct ecosystem-based management. The report Mapping Human Activity in the Marine Environment: GIS Tools and Participatory Methods is available in PDF format at

Report: Protection of reefs, mangroves is bargain

Coastal coral reefs and mangroves play an important role in shoreline protection during extreme weather events, and the cost of protecting such ecosystems – with MPAs or other management tools – amounts to a fraction of their estimated global value, according to a new report from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). The report In the Front Line: Shoreline Protection and other Ecosystem Services from Mangroves and Coral Reefs estimates the average management cost of a marine protected area to be US$775/km2 – or less than 0.2% of the estimated global value of a square kilometer of coral reef or mangrove. (The estimated ecosystem values are based on the various services that reefs and mangroves provide, including shoreline protection, fisheries, tourism, and recreation.) The report discusses management of these ecosystems and the pros and cons of rehabilitating or restoring them following degradation. It is available online at

Report available from European MPA conference

A conference on the use and implementation of MPAs for fisheries management and biodiversity conservation, held in November 2005 at the European Parliament, has produced a report of the presentations and discussions that occurred. The conference was co-organized by IUCN and the European Bureau for Conservation & Development, and involved representatives from EU and non-EU state governments, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, fishing industry, environmental NGOs, and other institutions. The 28-page Report of the Conference on Marine Biodiversity, Fisheries Management, and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is available in PDF format at

Course to be held on Caribbean MPAs

Students, practitioners, and others interested in MPAs in the Caribbean region are invited to enroll in an international course to be held 17-25 June 2006 in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Co-led by researchers from the National University of Mexico and Florida International University, the seven-day course “Marine Protected Areas for the South Florida, Mexican Caribbean, and Mesoamerican Region” will analyze ecological and socioeconomic aspects of MPA design and management. Registration is US$350/person. For more information, e-mail Ligia Collado Vides at

Master’s degree available in Marine Environmental Management

Starting October 2006, the University of York (UK) is offering a new master’s degree program in Marine Environmental Management, aimed at those who want to pursue a career in marine conservation or marine resource management. Directed by biologist Callum Roberts, the course will feature instruction on design, implementation, and management of MPAs, among other issues. For more information, visit the program website at

Question: In what cases will no-take marine reserves be ineffective as a management tool?

Tim McClanahan, a marine biologist in Kenya for the Wildlife Conservation Society, has studied how various resource management tools – including but not limited to no-take marine reserves – can best be applied to different ecological, socioeconomic, and political situations. A study he co-authored with Eric Verheij and Joseph Maina in the January 2006 issue of the journal Aquatic Conservation compares the management effectiveness of a no-take marine park in Kenya with a multiple-use collaborative fisheries management area located in adjacent waters in Tanzania. It concludes that collaborative fisheries and large permanent closed areas have different attributes that, when combined, “can achieve multiple purposes of sustainable fisheries, ecosystem functions, and protection of fishing-sensitive species.”

MPA News asked McClanahan whether there were some situations in which permanently closed areas would simply not work as an effective management tool. Below is his response.

McClanahan: “Permanently closed MPAs are always a necessary part of marine management. But the likelihood that they will succeed is not very high at two ends of the political spectrum: namely, complete control of resources by local communities, and repressive top-down control by central governments. In the former case, the local communities will seldom agree to large and permanent closed areas that may jeopardize their local control of resources. In the latter, people will be antagonistic and devious, and will find ways to bypass laws and enforcement.

“Local control is more likely to lead to smaller and less permanent systems of closure. Repressive top-down control will need to insure that the economy is functioning well-enough that resource users have other options for survival and will not need to risk the consequences of bypassing strict laws. Moderate political systems that balance national and local needs are likely to be able to create and successfully enforce permanent closures.”

For more information:

Tim McClanahan, Wildlife Conservation Society, Coral Reef Conservation, Kibaki Flats no.12, Bamburi, Kenyatta Beach, P.O. Box 99470, Mombasa, Kenya. Postal Code: 80107. Tel: +254 41 548 6549; E-mail: