Are you looking for the IMPAC4 website?

The Fourth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4) will be held 4-8 September 2017 in La Serena – Coquimbo, Chile. Are you looking for the official website? Click here. The Google search engine is not yet ranking the site highly, making it difficult to find. So please help spread the word – thanks.

France expands MPA in sub-Antarctic waters

In December, France greatly expanded the Réserve naturelle nationale des Terres australes françaises (French Southern Territories National Nature Reserve) from 15,700 km2 to 665,000 km2. The MPA is in French-controlled sub-Antarctic waters of the southern Indian Ocean, and includes the remote archipelagos of Crozet and Kerguelen.

The waters surrounding the archipelagos are a no-take zone and cover 120,000 km2. Outside those waters, limited fishing will be allowed in the expanded reserve, although gillnets and bottom trawl gear are prohibited. Shark and skate fishing are also banned. The decree announcing the expansion is here, in French. The Google Translate version in English is here.

Great Barrier Reef is experiencing mass coral bleaching for second year in a row

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has confirmed that a mass coral bleaching event is occurring there for the second consecutive year.

In 2016, the Great Barrier Reef was affected by its worst coral bleaching event on record. An excellent new study in Nature journal analyzes that 2016 event (for maps and a link to the study, click here). This year (2017) is the first time the Great Barrier Reef has not had a few years between mass bleaching events to recover. GBRMPA began receiving increased reports of bleaching in January 2017, and park personnel have been conducting spot checks and overflights since then. A GBRMPA press release confirming the 2017 mass bleaching event is available here.

By definition, mass coral bleaching is moderate to severe bleaching over a large spatial scale. The GBRMPA coral bleaching webpage is here.

FAO report on interactions among MPAs, livelihoods, and food security

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has released a report exploring the interface of MPAs with fishery livelihoods and food security. It features 10 case studies from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania, as well as a general overview of conclusions, problems, and solutions. The 172-page Marine Protected Areas: Interactions with Fisheries Livelihoods and Food Security is available here.

Report on preventing paper parks in the EU

WWF has released a report concluding that EU protected areas are at risk due to lack of proper implementation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. The report offers an overview of problems on the ground and recommends solutions, including completing the designation of marine Natura 2000 sites. Preventing Paper Parks: How to make the EU nature laws work is available here.

New app allows visitors to rate Indonesia’s MPAs

WWF-Indonesia has released an app that allows visitors to rate their experiences at the country’s MPAs. With the Marine Buddies app, users grade the MPAs on several criteria, including the abundance of fish and how clean the waters are. WWF-Indonesia’s goal is to encourage the improvement of management and maintenance at the nation’s MPAs. The project website is here (you may need to use Google Translate to read it). Media coverage is here.

Incidentally the travel-review website TripAdvisor, although not designed for MPA reviews in particular, has long served as a forum for visitors to rate their experiences at MPAs worldwide. Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize, for example, has nearly 5000 reviews on TripAdvisor.

Seychelles MPA offers ‘Conservation Boot Camp’

Cousin Island Special Reserve, a coastal and marine protected area managed by Nature Seychelles, has launched a ‘Conservation Boot Camp’ in which participants will gain practical experience with field staff and researchers. Open to seven participants at a time, the camp is geared toward recent graduates, individuals interested in a career in conservation, or “others who wish to take a break from their desk job and experience conservation of a tropical island paradise.” Each session will last four weeks and may include such activities as wildlife monitoring, ecotourism management, invasive species control, and island maintenance. The cost is 1000 euros (US$1072). For more information, click here.

From the MPA News vault:

Features and news items from yesteryear

Five years ago: March-April 2012

  • The MPA Math: How to Reach the 10% Target for Global MPA Coverage
  • MPA Perspective: Key Lessons Learned in the Management of MPAs and Marine Natural Resources

Ten years ago: March 2007

  • Using Marine Reserves to Protect Highly Migratory Species: Scientists Discuss Potential Strategies, Including Mobile MPAs
  • On the Importance of Educating Park Visitors: An Interview with Phil Dearden

Fifteen years ago: March 2002

  • “Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas”: Using a Comprehensive Planning Tool to Protect Habitats from Shipping
  • Gaps to Be Addressed in Management: Advice from Caribbean MPAs

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