Handbook analyzes ocean EBM policies from around the world

The “Routledge Handbook of National and Regional Ocean Policies” presents in-depth analyses of the ocean policies of 15 developed and developing nations and 4 regions of the world that have taken steps to implement integrated, ecosystem-based governance of ocean areas under their jurisdiction. These steps include establishing goals and procedures to harmonize existing uses and laws, fostering sustainable development of ocean areas, protecting biodiversity and vulnerable resources and ecosystems, and coordinating multiple government agencies. Analyses are provided for Canada, Australia, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, the United States, Portugal, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, the European Union, Pacific Islands, East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The book is available for USD$225 at www.routledge.com/books/details/9781138788299.

European offshore wind power growing 36% per year

A recent article “Trends of offshore wind projects” in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews analyzed the current status of the offshore wind industry in European waters. The authors found European offshore wind power has been growing rapidly, at an average rate of 36% a year, since 2001. There are currently 7748 megawatts installed and 3198 megawatts under construction among 76 offshore wind projects in European waters. The vast majority of this capacity is in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark. Projects have moved farther offshore into deeper water over time increasing average investment costs. Despite these factors, current project plans may allow the European Union to meet its targets of 40 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2020 and 150 gigawatts by 2030. The article is available for a fee at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032115003627.

Construction starts on first US wind farm

Construction has started off the coast of the US state of Rhode Island on the nation’s first wind farm. The company Deepwater Wind is constructing a five-turbine, 30-megawatt wind farm approximately three nautical miles offshore. The farm is expected to be operational in 2016. Approval of the farm was facilitated by Rhode Island’s comprehensive ocean plan – Special Area Management Plan or SAMP – approved in 2011, which identified specific areas for offshore wind development. Additional information about the Rhode Island wind farm is available at http://dwwind.com/project/block-island-wind-farm. Nine other commercial wind energy leases have been awarded by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for the US Atlantic Coast.

MSP process launched in Malaysian biodiversity hotspot

Sabah Town and Regional Planning Department in Malaysia and WWF-Malaysia have launched a marine spatial planning process for the Semporna Priority Conservation Area, one of the most biodiverse marine areas in the world. This process, the first marine spatial planning effort in Malaysia, seeks to balance marine ecosystem protection with development activity including fishing, aquaculture, settlements, tourism, and transport. The main output of the process is expected to be a plan of action and envisioning document for Semporna’s marine resource uses.

Principles help managers avoid dramatic ecosystem shifts

Ecosystem tipping points are dramatic shifts in ecosystem structure and function (MEAM 8:2). They are often costly and hard to reverse. New evidence indicates that explicitly addressing tipping points leads to improved management outcomes. A paper recently published in the journal Ecosystem Health and Sustainability — “Principles for managing marine ecosystems prone to tipping points”— provides principles to guide effective management in ecosystems with tipping points. Some principles include: assuming the potential for nonlinear relationships and tipping points in the absence of evidence to the contrary; addressing stressor intensity and interactive, cross-scale effects of human use to avoid tipping points; identifying and monitoring leading indicators of tipping points; increasing precaution to avoid tipping points; tying management targets to ecosystem thresholds; and increasing monitoring and intervention as risk of a tipping point increases. The publication is available at no cost at www.esajournals.org/doi/10.1890/EHS14-0024.1.