Bahamas designates 15 MPAs, expands 3 more

In August 2015, The Bahamas announced designation of 15 new MPAs and 3 expansions of existing MPAs. The designations and expansions cover a total marine area of 45000 km2, and allow the nation to exceed its commitment of 10% MPA coverage by 2020 under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

The new sites do not have management plans yet; public consultations to develop such plans are forthcoming. Bahamian Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett said some sites may be multiple-use while others may be no-take zones. He also said the nation will continue working to meet its additional commitments under the Caribbean Challenge Initiative, which calls for 20% MPA coverage of marine and nearshore waters, also by 2020.

The Bahamas passed legislation last year to establish the Bahamas Protected Area Fund, a national conservation trust fund devoted to protected area management.

Minister Dorsett’s 31 August 2015 announcement of the designations is at

Crowdsourcing the online surveillance of Cocos Island MPA

The 2000-km2 Cocos Island National Park – a no-take zone and World Heritage site off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica – has partnered with DigitalGlobe and Turtle Island Restoration Network to create one of the first crowdsourced digital patrols of an MPA. The public can visit DigitalGlobe’s online Tomnod platform ( and search satellite images of the MPA, looking for boats and ships and marking them on a map, which authorities can then use as evidence to prosecute violators.

In the two days following the project’s launch in mid-August 2015, 5700 people from 115 countries searched the Cocos Island maps on the lookout for vessels. Cocos Island suffers from illegal fishing, including the taking of endangered shark species. For more information:

Large no-take marine reserve envisioned for Easter Island

A 13 September article in The Guardian describes support from leaders of the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island (Chile) for the potential designation of a large no-take marine reserve in most of the island’s waters. The proposal, also supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Bertarelli Foundation, would allow local indigenous islanders to fish within 50 nm from shore and in a corridor toward the neighboring Sala y Gómez islands to the east, but would otherwise ban all fishing (by locals and non-locals alike) out to the 200-nm limit of the island’s EEZ. The purpose of the no-take area would be to protect the island’s waters from illegal fishing by international vessels, which is believed to be substantial. The article speculates that the Chilean Government may announce a notice of intent to designate the marine reserve in October 2015 at the Our Ocean 2015 conference, to be held in Valparaiso. The article is at

Report on financing needs and gaps for Mediterranean MPAs

A new report provides the first assessment of financing needs and gaps for effective MPA management across 17 Mediterranean nations. Produced by MedPAN, WWF Mediterranean, and the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), the report also assesses the financial resources needed to achieve the Aichi target of protecting 10% of the Mediterranean’s marine area by 2020. The 114-page report Sustainable Financing of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean: A Financial Analysis is at

UNEP releases WDPA user manual

The UNEP World Commission on Protected Areas has released a user manual for the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). The manual describes the history of the WDPA’s data; how the data are collected, managed, and distributed; and how they should be interpreted and used. The manual is available at

From the MPA News vault: Features and news items from yesteryear

Five years ago: July-August 2010 (MPA News 12:1)

  • Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The Experiences of MPA Managers So Far, and What Lessons Can Be Learned
  • How Close Is the MPA Field to Meeting Its Global Targets?

Ten years ago: August 2005 (MPA News 7:2)

  • “Sister MPAs”: Building International Relationships Between Sites to Share Lessons
  • MPA Spotlight: Tanzanian MPA Teams Up with Mobile Phone Company to Improve Communications

Fifteen years ago: August 2000 (MPA News 2:2)

  • The “New” Economics of Marine Reserves: What MPA Practitioners Need to Know
  • Courses Provide Training for Managers in Caribbean, Western Indian Ocean

For these and all other issues of MPA News, go to