Global Ocean Commission produces ten position papers, solicits feedback

By mid-2014, the Global Ocean Commission will make a series of recommendations for restoring the ocean to ecological health and sustainable productivity. The high seas are the primary focus of the Commission's work, and the Commission has produced position papers in ten policy areas affecting the high seas. The Commission is now welcoming comments and ideas in these areas.

The policy areas include climate change, ocean acidification, and geo-engineering; elimination of marine pollution affecting the high seas; bioprospecting and marine genetic resources; deep seabed mining; eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies; MPAs: protecting high seas biodiversity; illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; reform of high seas fisheries management; and modernizing ocean governance. The papers, as well as opportunities to comment, are at

Report on aligning the marine conservation movement

In competing for prestige, funding, or theory of change, NGOs in the ocean conservation community have, at times, undermined their ability to build on each other's efforts, according to a new report. The Ocean Community Report: Building an Aligned and Supportive Ocean Conservation Community, released by the Aspen Institute, describes how the ocean community might coordinate its work and increase effectiveness of its efforts. The report is intended for policymakers within government agencies, ocean conservation advocacy groups, and funders of ocean conservation and advocacy.

Opportunities to improve the NGO sector's effectiveness include strengthening collaboration between conservation groups (and creating funder incentives to do so) and developing an information clearinghouse for the community through which efforts can be aligned. The report also highlights the importance of improving communications by reframing conservation within other priority issues such as economic development or food security, and training political and business leaders to become informed spokespeople for conservation. The report is available at

Global survey on MSP seeks your input (31 March deadline)

The United Nations Environment Programme and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility are conducting a global survey of MSP implementation experiences. The goal is to understand and share which approaches are best suited for different contexts and settings, particularly in developing regions. Comprehensive multi-sector planning processes as well as simpler spatial management initiatives involving just a few sectors are of interest. Practitioners are encouraged to share their MSP planning and implementation experiences by filling out the online survey at The deadline for participation is 31 March 2014.

Report finds anthropogenic changes to oceans are more severe than expected

The International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) and IUCN have released a State of the Ocean Report on anthropogenic changes to the capacity of the global ocean to support life and human societies. According to Alex Rogers, scientific director of IPSO, "The health of the ocean is spiraling downwards far more rapidly than we had thought. We are seeing great change, happening faster, and the effects are more imminent than previously anticipated."

The international panel of marine scientists recommends reducing global CO2 emissions well below current targets; ensuring effective implementation of community- and ecosystem-based management; favoring small-scale fisheries; and building a global infrastructure for high seas governance. The findings of the panel are available at

US Coast Guard publishes journal issue on marine planning

The Fall 2013 issue of Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council, the Coast Guard Journal of Safety at Sea entitled "Marine Planning: Vision for the Future" features articles on the relationship of marine spatial planning to the US National Ocean Policy and to protection of the marine environment. It also describes how MSP could promote economic development, regional empowerment, and the development of data and planning tools. The issue is available at

EBM guidelines released for Coral Triangle Initiative

The Coral Triangle Initiative, a multilateral partnership to address threats facing the coastal and marine resources of Southeast Asia and Melanesia, has released a guide on ecosystem-based management. The publication is intended for local, district, provincial, and national governments, as well as resource managers and NGOs.

The guide Toward Ecosystem-based Coastal Area and Fisheries Management in the Coral Triangle: Integrated Strategies and Guidance describes a framework for EBM and integrated strategies for moving toward it. The publication also illustrates ways that management authorities can coordinate strategies and incorporate new activities into existing management plans. Several case studies are included. The guide is available at