Reserve network completed for Channel Islands (U.S.) with closure of jurisdictional gaps

The designation of a network of marine reserves in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) in the U.S. is now complete, following a vote by the California Fish and Game Commission to close several small jurisdictional gaps between reserves in state and federal waters of the sanctuary. The state-level commission voted in October 2007 to extend the boundaries of its state reserves to 3 nm from shore – the outer limit of state jurisdiction. As a whole, the marine reserve network totals 21% of the 3869-km2 CINMS.

The state and federal portions of the reserve network cover 129 nm2 (442 km2) and 112 nm2 (384 km2) respectively, and are adjacent to each other. However, the state portion took effect much earlier – in 2003 (MPA News 4:6) as opposed to July 2007 for the federal portion. When the state of California originally designated its portion of the reserve network, it wanted to ensure the boundaries of its reserves would be easily identifiable and enforceable in case the federal portion were delayed. “For this reason, offshore boundaries were ‘squared off’ inside the state water line,” says John Ugoretz, senior biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. “This led to a gap between the squared-off boundary and the state water line when the federal areas went into place.”

Sean Hastings, resource protection coordinator for CINMS, says such jurisdictional issues require agencies to collaborate to ensure that there are consistent, effective regulations and implementation. “I am a fan of co-management and co-jurisdiction because I believe it obligates agencies to make a commitment to each other and to the mission of conservation,” he says. All extractive activities are prohibited in nearly the entire marine reserve network. The regulations and boundaries of the reserves are available online at

Canada designates conservation area in Lake Superior

On 25 October, Canada announced its designation of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, marking the culmination of a decade of studies and negotiations involving federal, provincial, local, and indigenous governments. Termed the “largest freshwater marine protected area in the world” by the Canadian government, the protected area covers more than 10,000 km2 and includes lakebed, overlying waters, islands, and shorelands. Preparation of an interim management plan for the site is now underway, led by Parks Canada, the national parks agency. Canada’s national marine conservation areas are intended to balance environmental protection with responsible, ecologically sustainable economic activity. Lake Superior, bounded by Canada and the U.S., is the largest of the Great Lakes in North America, and has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world. A press release and backgrounder on the designation are available at

Second edition available of booklet on marine reserve science

The 2007 edition of a booklet on the science of no-take marine reserves provides a synopsis of the latest scientific information on the subject, updating a previous 2002 edition. Produced by the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies for Coastal Oceans (PISCO), the booklet features case studies to illustrate reserve effects, considerations in design and siting, and sociological issues, among other aspects of marine reserves. It is intended for use by natural resource managers, government officials, scientists, and stakeholders. PISCO is a consortium of academic scientists at several U.S. universities. “The Science of Marine Reserves (2007 Booklet)”, as well as the 2002 edition and a related 2002 video, are available at

Report: MPAs can help reduce poverty

A new report offers evidence of how MPAs have helped reduce poverty at locations across the Asia-Pacific region. Published by The Nature Conservancy, an international NGO, the study features four sites located in Fiji, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Solomon Islands. Researchers interviewed more than 1000 local people about changes in their quality of life since creation of these MPAs. The interviews revealed benefits including improved fish catches and new jobs (mostly in tourism), as well as stronger local governance and benefits to health and women. Report co-author Craig Leisher says, “We should not artificially separate conservation and poverty reduction – they are almost always inextricably linked.” The report Nature’s Investment Bank: How Marine Protected Areas Contribute to Poverty Reduction is available online at

Recommendations released for U.S. MPAs

In November, the U.S. Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee delivered its latest set of recommendations to assist the Department of Commerce and Department of the Interior with their joint goal of developing a national system of MPAs. The November recommendations pertain to determining which existing MPA sites will constitute the initial national system; developing effective MPA management plans; offering incentives for participation in the national system; and enhancing regional approaches to planning and coordinating MPAs. The recommendations, as well as past products of the advisory committee, are available at

Second International MPA Congress to be held in 2009

The Second International Marine Protected Areas Congress, or IMPAC2, will be held in May 2009 in Washington, D.C. (U.S.). It will occur in conjunction with the inaugural International Marine Conservation Congress, hosted by the Society for Conservation Biology. Preliminary information is available at The first International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC1) was held in Geelong, Australia, in 2005.