Save the date for IMPAC5 in Vancouver

Organizers of the next International Marine Protected Areas Congress – IMPAC5, to be hosted in Vancouver, Canada – have announced the dates. The conference will be held in 2021 from 27 September – 1 October.

MPA in Dominican Republic to be managed under public-private partnership

A public-private partnership agreement was signed in February 2018 for co-management of the second-largest protected area in the Dominican Republic, the 8000-km2 Arrecifes del Sureste (Southeast Reefs) Sanctuary. The co-management body, a non-profit company, will receive major financing for its initial capital expenditures from international impact investors. In time, the company is expected to be financially sustainable and generate its own income from user fees and innovative tourism models.

The company is comprised of local and international NGOs, private sector organizations, and the NGO Blue finance, among others. The company will be responsible for hiring and overseeing staff to carry out the site’s management for a period of 10 years. The company itself will be guided by a multidisciplinary Advisory Council of public and private citizens. A press release on the agreement is here.

A call for half of South Georgia / South Sandwich Islands MPA to be changed to no-take

The 1.07-million-km2 MPA around the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI), designated by the UK in 2012, is under review by the local SGSSI government on whether existing conservation measures offer adequate protection. (SGSSI is a British Overseas Territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean.) Although the MPA’s management measures were strengthened in 2013 with various restrictions on fishing gear types, just 2% of the total MPA is currently no-take. The remaining 98% is classified as sustainable use, allowing varying levels of commercial fishing.

A coalition of NGOs – the Pew Charitable Trusts, Blue Marine Foundation, Greenpeace, Marine Conservation Society, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and Zoological Society of London – is calling for half of the MPA to be changed to no-take. The proposal is here, and a video is here.

Global MPA survey seeks participants

A global survey is studying the management of non-native species in MPAs, as well as global perceptions about non-native species in MPAs. The survey is by researchers at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Victoria (Canada). The researchers seek participants who have two or more years of experience working in, or conducting research on, MPAs. The anonymous survey is designed to take 5-10 minutes to complete, and is available in English, Spanish, and French. To participate or learn more, click here. Knowledge of non-native species, or their presence in an MPA, is not required.

Request for examples of successful co-management of MPAs with Indigenous groups

West Coast Environmental Law in Vancouver, Canada, is looking for successful models of shared governance of MPAs between national (or state) level governments and Indigenous governments or communities. In particular, the organization is looking for examples where Indigenous governments or communities have a lead role in MPA decision-making authority or where decision-making authority is shared equally. If you have examples to share, please contact Linda Nowlan at

US Coast Guard journal features several articles on MPAs

The Spring 2018 edition of Proceedings, the US Coast Guard journal of safety and security at sea, features 21 articles on marine protected areas. They cover aspects such as paper parks, MPA networks, MPAs in a changing Arctic, detecting illegal activity inside MPAs, and much more. The issue is available for free here.

New 30-minute film examines how MPAs can help restore ecosystems

Economist Films, the documentary unit of The Economist magazine, has made a 30-minute film on MPAs. The film Troubled Water explores how MPAs can be used to help marine ecosystems recover from overexploitation and to provide an insurance policy for biodiversity. It also examines the different types of management that MPAs can apply, based on site goals. The film features footage from MPAs in Mexico and Madagascar, among other places. It is available here.

Competition to design a postage stamp for Chagos

The British Indian Ocean Territory Administration, which oversees the Chagos archipelago, is running a competition for children to design an official postage stamp for the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The design theme is “Why are coral reefs and oceans important?” Four winners will be chosen. The closing date for design entries is 11 May 2018. The 640,000-km2 Chagos MPA, in which commercial fishing is off-limits, is inside BIOT waters. Information and entry forms for the contest are available here.

Workshop on Important Marine Mammal Areas identifies 46 new candidate sites

In March 2018, the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force conducted its third Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) workshop – this one in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. The workshop resulted in 46 sites identified as candidates for IMMA status in the North East Indian Ocean and South East Asian Seas Region. The 46 candidate IMMAs will now be considered by an independent review panel for official IMMA status.

IMMAs are defined as discrete areas of habitat, important to marine mammal species, that have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation. They are intended to spotlight areas that may lead to MPAs or other conservation outcomes, like ship or noise directives or marine spatial planning.

Upcoming IMMA workshops will be held in the Western Indian Ocean and Arabian Seas (2019), the waters of Australia-New Zealand and South East Indian Ocean (2020), and the South East Tropical and Temperate Pacific Ocean (2021). For more information and contact details for the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force and the IMMA work, click here.

From the MPA News vault

Features and news items from yesteryear

Five years ago: March-April 2013

  • Advances in MPA enforcement and compliance: Practitioners describe cutting-edge techniques and tools
  • New software tools to encourage compliance, manage enforcement

Ten years ago: March 2008

  • Kiribati Expands Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Creating World’s Largest MPA
  • MPA Global Database Releases Figures: MPAs Cover Just 0.65% of Oceans

Fifteen years ago: March 2003

  • Building Trust, Empowering Resource Users: Efforts Underway to Educate, Encourage Participation of Fishermen in MPA Processes
  • MPA Perspective: Integrity in Management

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