Volunteer ranger killed in Philippines

Sixto Atienza, 44-year-old director of a team of volunteer rangers who enforced fisheries regulations and MPAs in Balayan Bay, Philippines, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant on May 3. In his two years as leader of the Calatagan Bantay Dagat (a group of fishermen who patrol the bay and wield enforcement powers), Atienza had overseen the arrest of more than 120 illegal fishers and the confiscation of 26 boats. There is speculation that his murder, carried out in public immediately after he had given a speech at a festival, was intended as retribution for his team’s enforcement activities. A newspaper profile of Atienza, with details on his death, is available online at http://www.inq7.net/mag/2003/may/25/text/mag_4-1-p.htm. A second article is at http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/abs_news_body.asp?section=Provincial&OID=24836.

For information on how to send condolences or donations to Atienza’s family or the Bantay Dagat, e-mail Charisse Katigbak of the Environmental Fund for Legal Assistance, WWF-Philippines, at ckatigbak@wwf.org.ph. MPA News reported last month that IUCN and the International Ranger Federation have co-launched an initiative to address physical threats and violence faced by rangers in protected areas, including through government provision of better training and equipment (MPA News 4:10).

Papers available from Caribbean MPA symposium

Papers presented at the November 2001 symposium Caribbean Marine Protected Areas: Practical Approaches to Achieve Economic and Conservation Goals have been compiled in the March 2003 issue of Gulf and Caribbean Research journal. For a list of the 17 papers included in the peer-reviewed publication, as well as information on ordering, go to http://www.gcfi.org/CARIBBEAN_MPA_PUBLICATION_NOW_AVAILABLE.htm. The symposium occurred in conjunction with the 54th annual conference of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI), held in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Proceedings available from World Heritage Marine Biodiversity workshop

In early 2002, 62 scientists from around the world gathered in Hanoi, Viet Nam, to develop a global list of coastal, marine, and small island ecosystems for potential nomination as World Heritage sites under UNESCO. Convened by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in collaboration with IUCN and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the workshop identified a representative set of priority areas important for their biodiversity value, with emphasis placed on interconnectedness within the areas. Proceedings from the meeting, including the list of suggested sites, are available online in PDF format at http://whc.unesco.org/series/papers_04.pdf.

Currently, of the 730 cultural and natural sites included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, fewer than 10 sites are recognized entirely for their marine biodiversity value. The main goal of the Hanoi workshop was to remedy such under-representation, particularly in tropical countries.

New national park reserve in Canada includes marine component

On May 9, the federal government of Canada and provincial government of British Columbia signed an agreement to establish Canada’s 40th national park, an area encompassing 26 km2 in the Gulf Islands between the cities of Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. Spread out over 15 islands and numerous smaller islets, the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve extends to 25 meters seaward of high tide. The agreement will also enable Parks Canada, the national parks agency, to obtain interim management authority over certain non-fishing marine activities out an additional 175 meters from the park reserve boundary, following the completion of consultations now underway.

The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is the first new national park established under the Canadian government’s action plan to create 10 new national parks and five national marine conservation areas (NMCAs) in the next five years (MPA News 4:4). One of the proposed NMCAs under the action plan is in the southern Strait of Georgia that surrounds the Gulf Islands, where a feasibility study to determine whether an NMCA should be established will be the next step. For more information: Doug Yurick, Chief, Marine Program Coordination, Parks Canada, 25 Eddy Street, 4th Floor, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5, Canada. Tel: +1 819 997 4910; E-mail: doug.yurick@pc.gc.ca.

Report rates fishing-gear types by damage caused to environment

A new report ranks the environmental harm caused by 10 widely used fishing-gear types in the US, based on a survey of marine professionals, including fishermen. Focusing on the collateral impacts (i.e., habitat damage and bycatch) of the gears, the survey participants rated bottom trawls, dredges, bottom gillnets, and midwater gillnets as being the most ecologically severe.

To first determine the impacts of each gear type, researchers Lance Morgan of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute (an NGO) and Ratana Chuenpagdee of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science convened an expert panel of scientists, regulators, and fishermen. The panel’s findings were summarized in a survey that was distributed to a second group of fishery experts, who were asked to consider the suite of collateral impacts of various gears in paired comparisons, choosing which set of impacts they considered to be more severe.

Morgan and Chuenpagdee recommend that fisheries managers and fishermen pursue a range of strategies to decrease gear impacts, including the expanded adoption of area-based restrictions on certain gear types. Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a US-based foundation, the 42-page report Shifting Gears: Addressing the Collateral Impacts of Fishing Methods in US Waters is available online in PDF format at http://www.mcbi.org/ShiftingGears/SG_download.htm. For more information: Lance Morgan, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, 15805 NE 47th Court, Redmond, WA 98052, USA. Tel: +1 425 883 8914; E-mail: lance@mcbi.org.


The article on private-sector ownership of MPAs in last month’s issue (MPA News 4:10) reported that the National Trust, an NGO in the UK, had raised more than 36 million British pounds (US$58 million) to purchase UK coastal lands. In fact, the Trust’s Neptune Coastline Campaign has raised more than 45 million British pounds (US$74 million).