Again, CCAMLR fails to find consensus on proposals for large MPAs in Antarctic

At its annual meeting in October 2014, the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) failed for the fourth meeting in a row to reach consensus on proposals to designate large new MPAs in Antarctic waters. The two proposals – one from New Zealand and the US to create a 1.34 million-km2 no-take MPA in the Ross Sea; the other from Australia, France, and the EU for a network of MPAs in East Antarctica – were blocked by Russia and China.

The two MPA proposals have been put forward in various forms at CCAMLR meetings since 2012 (MPA News 15:1 and 15:2). CCAMLR, which consists of 25 member nations, sets conservation policy in the Southern Ocean. To pass new regulations, all member nations must agree to them.

The Ross Sea proposal is at

Information on the East Antarctica proposal is at these two links: and

Review available on high seas bottom fisheries closures

A new working paper is available on high seas bottom fisheries closures, reviewing how these closures can protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The paper describes current efforts by regional fisheries management organizations to implement this tool, and outlines options for addressing fisheries in any new international agreement on high seas biodiversity. Released by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (known by its French acronym IDDRI), the paper “Advancing marine biodiversity protection through regional fisheries management: a review of high seas bottom fisheries closures” is at

Study analyzes optimal enforcement in Costa Rican MPA

A new study in the journal Oryx analyzes five years of patrol records from Costa Rica’s Cocos Island National Park to predict where and when future illegal fishing activity will occur in the 2000-km2 no-take MPA. The researchers suggest their methods could be applied to MPAs elsewhere to help optimize patrol effort and the spending of limited enforcement funds.

Identifying patterns among the 300 recorded incursions in Cocos, the study team found illegal fishing was concentrated on a seamount and peaked during the third year-quarter, likely as a result of oceanographic conditions (e.g., seasonal variations in mixed-layer depth). The lunar cycle also played a role: incursions peaked during the first- and last-quarters in the lunar cycle, when ambient light is reduced. The study was led by Adrian Arias of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (Australia). Cocos Island National Park is a World Heritage site.

The abstract of the study “Optimizing enforcement and compliance in offshore marine protected areas: a case study from Cocos Island, Costa Rica” is available at For the full article, email the authors (contact information is on the link).

Draft toolkit available on managing cultural resources in MPAs

The (US) National MPA Center has released an online toolkit to guide MPA practitioners in managing cultural resources at their sites. Cultural resources include shipwrecks, archeological sites, and sites important to indigenous people. The Cultural Resources Toolkit was developed by the Cultural Heritage Resources Workgroup of the MPA Federal Advisory Committee. It is a work in progress: the MPA Center will augment and expand the content over time, incorporating users’ feedback. The Toolkit is available at

US expands shipwreck MPA to nearly 10 times its size

In September, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced it is expanding the boundary of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary from its prior size of 1160 km2 to 11,137 km2. The MPA, located in freshwater Lake Huron along the US state of Michigan, protects more than 50 historically significant shipwrecks ranging from 19th-century wooden side-wheelers to 20-century steel-hulled steamers. The expansion will extend protection to 47 additional known historic shipwrecks. The MPA prohibits taking or destroying underwater cultural resources or intentional altering the lake bottom. The official notice of the expansion is at The MPA’s website is

Study: How mismanaged must a fishery be to benefit from a reserve and spillover?

A new modeling study of no-take marine reserves concludes that in fisheries where there is effective management, such reserves are unlikely to produce a net spillover benefit for the total fishery. In contrast, reserves may be beneficial where the fishery has been mismanaged and stocks severely depleted. “This model-based result is consistent with the literature of field-based research where a spillover benefit from reserves has only been detected when the fishery is highly depleted, often where traditional fisheries management controls are absent,” write the study’s authors.

They acknowledge, however, that reserves can serve a range of conservation purposes beyond just fisheries enhancement, including habitat protection and bycatch reduction. Published in the journal PLOS ONE, the study was conducted by a team of Australian researchers. The team was led by Colin Buxton of the University of Tasmania, who is a member of Australia’s new Expert Scientific Panel to review zoning plans for the country’s marine reserves. The study is at

Journal issue on marine managed areas

The journal Advances in Marine Biology has published an issue titled “Marine Managed Areas and Fisheries”. It features 10 articles on case studies of MPAs, their objectives, and their outcomes. The abstracts are available for free; the full articles are available for purchase.

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

Five years ago: November-December 2009 (MPA News 11:3)

  • Seismic surveys and MPAs: How should managers address the issue of underwater noise?
  • Notes & News: UK launches consultation on MPA around Chagos Archipelago

Ten years ago: December 2004 – January 2005 (MPA News 6:6)

  • Invasive species: Their threat to MPAs, and how practitioners are responding
  • UCN recommends temporary ban on high-seas bottom trawling

Fifteen years ago: December 1999 – January 2000 (MPA News 1:4)

  • How should we manage for the effects of natural hazard events on MPAs?
  • MPA nomenclature: The thicket of terms and definitions continues to grow

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