Australian government releases final plan for MPA network in SE Australia

The Australian government has released its final plan for a representative MPA network in Southeast Australia, to cover 226,000 km2 of commonwealth waters in 13 new marine protected areas. The release on 6 May followed months of consultations with stakeholders, conducted in response to the government’s proposal last year of a candidate MPA network (“MPA Network Is Proposed for SE Australia”, MPA News 7:7). The government will now begin a statutory process to have each MPA designated as a Commonwealth protected area, expected to be completed by the end of 2006.

According to Environment Minister Ian Campbell, the final plan achieves a notable combination of feats: it is 24% larger than the 171,000-km2 network proposed last year, while its impact on the commercial fishing sector is significantly more benign than that of the earlier proposal. “We have been able to deliver these new marine protected areas with minimal impact on industry,” said Campbell in an announcement. “Since I released the proposed network last December, we have made more than 20 adjustments to boundaries and zoning that will reduce the impact on commercial fishing by more than 90%.”

The network will be integrated with a national program to reduce fishing effort, including a license buyout initiative, described in the February 2006 MPA News. Roughly 43% of the network area will allow no fishing or other extractive activity; 36% will be closed to commercial fishing but open to recreational fishing and other activities; and the remainder will allow for multiple uses, including various commercial fishing methods.

The June 2006 issue of MPA News will contain more details on the Southeast Region MPA Network as well as lessons learned by stakeholders and planners. For the official announcement of the network plan, as well as maps and other information, visit

For more information:

Leanne Wilks ( and Paul Garrett (, Department of the Environment and Heritage, GPO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia.

Fisheries patrol director is murdered in Philippines

The 46-year-old leader of a community-based fisheries patrol in Cebu City, Philippines, was murdered on 12 April in what authorities and colleagues say was likely meant as retribution for his team’s enforcement activities. Elpidio (Jojo) dela Victoria was director of the city’s Bantay Dagat Commission, a volunteer civilian force deputized to patrol Cebu City waters for illegal activity up to 15 km from shore, particularly blast fishing. Under dela Victoria’s direction since 1996, the Cebu City Bantay Dagat has confiscated P16 million (US $310,000) of dynamited fish and arrested 449 illegal fishers. His crew also raided several local factories of explosives and blasting caps.

A police officer, Marcial Ocampo, from the neighboring municipality of Minglanilla has been arrested and charged with carrying out the murder of dela Victoria. Local authorities have offered a reward of P1 million (US $19,000) for information leading to the arrest of the planner of the crime.

This is the second murder of a fisheries patrol director in the Philippines in three years. In 2003, Sixto Atienza was killed: he was leader of the Calatagan Bantay Dagat, which patrolled Balayan Bay (in the western Philippines, facing the South China Sea) and had arrested more than 120 illegal fishers (MPA News 4:11). No one has been prosecuted for the crime.

The Philippines has Bantay Dagat commissions country-wide, involving more than 100,000 volunteer coast watchers. In the past year the Cebu City Bantay Dagat has been active in forming a larger, joint patrol – the Visayan Sea Squadron – with its peer organizations in nearby municipalities. The goal of the squadron is to eradicate illegal fishing in the Visayan Sea, a 10,000-km2 area of high biodiversity. (At present, commercial fishing is banned in municipal waters of the Visayan Sea – i.e., within 15 km of the coast – but subsistence fishing is allowed.) The squadron, led by attorney Antonio Oposa, has also called on local governments to designate 15% of their municipal waters as completely no-take areas.

On 2 May, provincial and local officials, NGOs, fishing organizations, the Visayan Sea Squadron, and other stakeholders finalized a memorandum of agreement to establish several provisions on co-management of the Visayan Sea. The provisions include crafting a comprehensive ecoregional management plan and setting maximum sustainable yields for commercial fishing in non-municipal waters. “I hope that concrete actions will result from this, and it will not be mere words on paper,” says Liza Eisma-Osorio of the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF), a Philippine NGO that participated in drafting the agreement.

For more information:

Liza Eisma-Osorio, Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, Rm 302, Third Floor, PDI Condominium, Banilad, Cebu City, Philippines. Tel: +63 32 233 6947; E-mail:

Report proposes global network of no-take reserves for high seas

A new report released by Greenpeace International proposes the designation of a representative network of no-take marine reserves on the high seas, protecting a total of 40% of all waters outside of any nation’s jurisdiction. Authored by Callum Roberts, Leanne Mason, and Julie Hawkins – all of the University of York (UK) – the report bases its recommended network on analysis of a variety of oceanographic and biological data, including water temperature gradients, upwelling areas, depth zones, sediment types, and fishery and tracking data on oceanic megafauna, among other factors. The authors also consulted with experts in marine science and management, asking them to nominate sites they believed should be protected.

The 58-page report Roadmap to Recovery: A Global Network of Marine Reserves is available online in PDF format at A separate map of the proposed high-seas reserves is available at

“The design presented in this report includes 29 separate marine reserves that together encompass 40.8% of the area of the world’s oceans,” states the report. “All the marine reserves identified incorporate places that are biologically important based on available data.” The authors used the computer program MARXAN to help develop network designs that would minimize the area and boundary length of recommended reserves – a proxy for minimizing costs related to management and compliance. (Socioeconomic data, such as for high-seas fisheries, were not directly incorporated in this project’s modeling.) MARXAN has been used in other high-profile reserve-planning programs in recent years, including for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in the US (“Using Computer Software to Design Marine Reserve Networks”, MPA News 6:4).

Few MPAs exist on the high seas, due in part to the lack of an international legal framework to allow for implementation of reserves applicable to all nations (“At World Parks Congress, Target Is Set for High-Seas MPAs”, MPA News 5:4). Greenpeace aims to use the report to push for creation of a new implementing agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that would (a) formally recognize the need to protect biodiversity on the high seas, and (b) mandate protection of high-seas areas for conservation purposes. More details on Greenpeace’s vision for a new implementing agreement are included in a separate document, Black Holes in Deep Ocean Space, released in November 2005. It is online in PDF format at

For more information:

Karli Thomas, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace International, Ottho Heldingstraat 5, 1066 AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 20 718 2176; E-mail:

Callum Roberts, Environment Department, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1904 434066; E-mail:

Report offers guidance for financing protected areas, recommends hiring of business managers

Many, if not most, protected areas worldwide face a funding crisis, both in terms of the amount of funds available and how those funds are used, according to a new report from the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). The report, Sustainable Financing of Protected Areas: A Global Review of Challenges and Options, details a broad range of financing mechanisms available to protected areas – from charging user fees, to attracting voluntary donations, to establishing enterprise funds, and more – and describes opportunities and pitfalls of each, as well as case studies from marine and terrestrial sites.

“It is clear that achieving PA

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financial sustainability will require major changes in the way that funding is conceptualized, captured, and used,” states the report. “There is an urgent need to expand and diversify PA financial portfolios, and to ensure that funding reaches the groups and activities essential for biodiversity conservation.”

Beyond describing how levels of funding can be increased, the report emphasizes that such funding is only as sustainable as the management system it supports. “Generating more funds for PAs is necessary, but not sufficient,” write the authors. Financial sustainability, they say, will also require general reinforcement of PA management capacity, in particular to:

  • Become more responsive to changing opportunities and external demands;
  • Strengthen institutional capacity to use financial and business planning tools;
  • Establish more supportive economic policy and market conditions; and
  • Involve a wider range of stakeholders in protected area management.

This goes beyond simply training managers to be more financially savvy. “A critical determinant of successful fund raising is the recruitment of successful business managers within PA agencies, who can work effectively with a range of stakeholders,” states the report. “Such individuals have an important role in identifying new funding opportunities and securing appropriate external partners to help develop them.”

The 97-page report, authored by Lucy Emerton, Joshua Bishop, and Lee Thomas, is an update and expansion of a previous WCPA publication, Financing Protected Areas: Guidelines for Protected Area Managers (MPA News 2:8), released in 2000. The new 2006 edition is available online in PDF format at A version in HTML format is available at