New website for Mediterranean MPA managers
MedPAN, an EU-funded initiative to network MPA managers in the Mediterranean, has launched a website, at http://www.medpan.org. The website, available in English and French, features a directory of Mediterranean MPAs by country, MPA-related documents, a gallery of Mediterranean MPA photos, and the project newsletter (MedPAN Bulletin), as well as an “extranet” resource center that is accessible to Mediterranean MPA managers upon request (e-mail email@example.com to request access). The extranet offers management tools, working documents, presentations from MedPAN workshops, and an updated directory of Mediterranean MPA managers, among other materials. The aim of MedPAN is to improve management effectiveness of Mediterranean MPAs, including through exchange of information and experience among MPA managers in the region.
For more information: Catherine Piante, (MedPAN project coordinator), WWF France, Mission Oceans et Cotes, 6 rue des Fabres, 13001 Marseille, France. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
UNESCO World Heritage adds new marine sites
On 12 July 2006, two sites with marine components were added to the World Heritage List, overseen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
- Malpelo Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, Colombia (8571 km2 of marine area) – Located 500 km off the Pacific coast of Colombia, this MPA includes Malpelo island and the surrounding marine environment, filled with abundant populations of sharks, giant grouper, and billfish; this is reportedly the largest no-take zone in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.
- Kvarken Archipelago, Finland (roughly 1650 km2 of marine area) – Including 5600 islands and islets, this archipelago is continuously rising from the sea, owing to moraines formed by the melting of the continental ice sheet; as a consequence, islands appear and unite over time, peninsulas expand, and lakes evolve from bays.
The World Heritage Convention (http://whc.unesco.org) seeks to protect the world’s most important natural and cultural heritage. In designating 830 locales so far as World Heritage sites – from the Great Wall of China to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System – the 182 state parties to the convention have indicated their desire that these places be preserved. A press release on the newly listed MPAs is at http://www.iucn.org/en/news/archive/2006/07/12_pr_world_heritage.htm.
Guidelines released for responsible fishing in SE Asia, including the use of fisheries refugia
Governments in Southeast Asia are promoting the use of “fisheries refugia” as one of several tools for making fisheries in the region more sustainable. In a new set of guidelines released by the intergovernmental Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), resource managers are encouraged to designate such refugia particularly in areas critical to the life history of fished species, such as spawning aggregation sites, nursery grounds, and migratory routes. The guidelines specify that the term “fisheries refugia” does not mean “no-take zones” in this case; rather, these are areas in which various gear-based, seasonal, or other restrictions on fishing effort are applied, while allowing other fishing activity to continue. “States should focus on establishing fisheries refugia with a very clear fisheries agenda and based on the concept of sustainable use,” say the guidelines. The recommendations cover several refugia-related topics, including establishment of sites, anticipated management challenges, and complementary management initiatives.
SEAFDEC member countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The publication, Supplementary Guidelines on Co-Management Using Group User Rights, Fishery Statistics, Indicators and Fisheries Refugia, is available online at http://fish.seafdec.org/GL/4_GL.pdf.
Monitoring expedition for Sudanese MPAs profiled online
Available online are day-by-day accounts and photos from a July 2006 expedition to assess biodiversity at two MPAs in Sudan: 22-km2 Sanganab Atoll Marine National Park, and 3000-km2 Dungonab Bay-Mukkawar Island Marine Protected Area. This online coverage (http://www.africanparks-conservation.com/sudan-expedition.php) is intended to raise awareness of the existence of the parks, which have coral reefs in excellent condition and low tourism levels (2000-2500 visitors per year). The expedition itself established baseline biodiversity data for management of the parks and laid out 23 permanent monitoring sites. The African Parks Foundation, an NGO that manages the two MPAs in cooperation with Sudanese wildlife authorities, is responsible for funding the parks and is working with local communities to guide conservation and sustainable development of the area. The organization manages eight national parks in six African nations.
For more information: Francien Keyzer, African Parks B.V., P.O. Box 313, 3940 AH Doorn, The Netherlands. Tel.: +31 343 565013; E-mail: email@example.com