IMPAC1 proceedings released
Proceedings from the First International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC1), held October 2005 in Australia, are now available. Among the most comprehensive collections of MPA information ever compiled, the document totals 665 pages and includes abstracts from all IMPAC1 presentations, as well as full text of the meeting’s plenary addresses. The entire range of MPA issues is covered: planning, management, science, and more. The proceedings are downloadable in PDF format for free at http://www.impacongress.org/proceedings.htm.
The file, 19 MB in size, is searchable by author, keyword, theme, and other criteria. It also includes a list of delegates with e-mail contact information. More than 660 delegates from 78 nations attended IMPAC1. The Second International Marine Protected Area Congress (IMPAC2) is expected to be held in the US in 2009.
California designates MPA network for central coast
On 13 April, the US state of California formally designated 29 marine protected areas on its central coast, part of an initiative to create an MPA network along the state’s 1770-km coastline:
- The protected areas will cover a total of 204 square miles (528 km2), or roughly 18% of California’s central-region waters;
- The MPAs will have fishing restrictions ranging from partial limits to an outright ban. No-take regulations will pertain to 85 square miles (220 km2) – roughly 7.5% of state waters in the region.
The MPAs are expected to take effect in July 2007. California state waters extend three nautical miles from the shoreline.
The newly designated sites are the first product of California’s eight-year process so far to build a system of MPAs (“Update on implementation of California’s Marine Life Protection Act”, MPA News 8:8). Lessons learned from the process will be featured in the June 2007 edition of MPA News. The next phase of planning, focusing on California’s north central coast, began in February 2007. For more information on California’s Marine Life Protection Act initiative, go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/mlpa/index.html.
Guidebook available on management of SCUBA diving in MPAs
MedPAN, the network of Mediterranean MPA managers, has released a guidebook on managing and monitoring SCUBA diving activity in MPAs. Produced by staff of the Natural Marine Reserve of Cerbere-Banyuls in France, the 62-page guide offers basic advice on setting up a dive-management program, studying environmental impacts of dive activity, raising public awareness, and establishing infrastructure (including mooring buoys and artificial reefs). It also lists Mediterranean MPAs with aspects of dive management programs in place, such as those with impact studies underway or with “good practice” codes established. The guidebook is available in French and English at http://www.medpan.org/?arbo=telecharger.
Report: Reef restoration for coral reef managers
A new report offers guidance for managers on the restoration of degraded coral reefs, drawing lessons from successes and failures in active restoration projects worldwide. Reef restoration includes indirect measures to remove obstacles to natural recovery (such as reducing human impacts on an affected site), as well as direct interventions like the transplantation of corals. The report offers the caveat that although restoration can enhance conservation efforts, it is “a poor second” to the preservation of original habitats. In other words, improved management of reef areas remains critically important. The 44-page report Reef Restoration Concepts & Guidelines: Making Sensible Management Choices in the Face of Uncertainty is published by the Coral Reef Targeted Research and Capacity Building for Management Program at the University of Queensland, and is available in PDF format at http://www.gefcoral.org/Portals/25/workgroups/rr_guidelines/rrg_fullguide.pdf.
European scientists invited to sign consensus statement on marine reserves
Biologist Callum Roberts at York University (UK) is inviting European scientists to sign a consensus statement to affirm the need for no-take marine reserves and express concern for what the statement terms a “lack of progress in implementing marine reserve networks in European waters.” The statement is timed to inform discussions in preparation for the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (to be held in Germany in 2008) and ongoing negotiations for a new European Union law for the protection of Europe’s seas. Roberts intends to release the statement on 8 June 2007, World Oceans Day. The idea for the consensus statement stems from a similar initiative signed by marine scientists from around the world in 2001 (MPA News 2:8). The European statement is available online at http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/eeem/gsp/mem/marine_reserves_consensus.pdf.
Grants available for historical marine ecology research
Marine Conservation Biology Institute, a US-based NGO, is offering grants in support of research on past ecosystem conditions – i.e., historical baselines – for the purpose of conserving and restoring marine biodiversity. The grant program is particularly interested in studies that describe systems prior to large-scale human impacts and industrialization. Grants can range up to a maximum of US $10,000. Preference will be given to graduate students, post-graduate researchers, and early career scientists. The deadline for submissions is 1 June 2007. For more information, visit http://www.mcbi.org.