Report: Significant marine extinction possible unless multiple ocean stressors reduced

Multiple ocean stressors – warming, acidification, overfishing, and more – together represent a great risk to marine and human life if the current trajectory of these stressors continues, including the possibility of a major extinction event of marine species. This is the conclusion of 27 ocean experts who gathered at an April 2011 workshop at the University of Oxford, convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).

The workshop report concludes that the speed of climate-related changes to the ocean is near to or tracking the worst-case scenarios from scientific predictions, including from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Meanwhile marine ecosystems' resilience to climate change impacts is being compromised by stressors like overexploitation, pollution, and habitat destruction. Workshop participants called for immediate reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and urgent action to restore the structure and function of marine ecosystems. "The findings underscore the need for more effective management of fisheries and pollution and for strengthening protection of the 64% of the ocean that lies beyond the zones of national jurisdiction," states the workshop report. More information on the workshop and IPSO in general is at

Report explains need for integration in coastal zone management with examples

A new report provides an overview of integrated coastal zone management (ICZM), focusing on the concept of integration and why it is essential for management of coastal and marine resources. Produced by the Solutions for Environmental Contrasts in Coastal Areas project (SECOA), an EU-funded initiative, the report surveys several types of integration (integrated resource planning, integrated assessments, integrated maritime policy, and more) and how they have been implemented in practice.

The main aim of the publication is to inform the evaluation of specific ICZM mechanisms under particular country contexts. The SECOA project is studying the social, economic, and environmental systems of coastal cities in eight European and Asian countries (Belgium, India, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, UK, and Vietnam). The project is developing a handbook of best practices in ICZM, based on the evaluation of mechanisms from the SECOA partner countries.

The 39-page report "Towards Integrated Coastal Zone Management: A Toolkit for Practitioners" is available from co-authors Michelle Portman and Itay Fishhendler of Hebrew University of Jerusalem at

UN report released on oceans and sustainable development

In June the UN General Assembly released a report on oceans and sustainable development, with a focus on global progress to date in implementing ocean-related outcomes from major summits on sustainable development. The report also identifies gaps in implementation and science, and challenges to effective implementation, such as insufficient capacity, fragmented management, and enforcement difficulties.Improved implementation of sustainable development goals will "require increased international and inter-agency cooperation and coordination, as well as continued efforts to build necessary capacity," states the report. "Political will and the targeted allocation of sufficient resources at all levels remain key components of the way forward." The report is intended for consideration by the General Assembly at its sixty-sixth session, which begins in September 2011. The report is available at

Book describes transition to ecosystem-based fisheries management from species-based management

A new book outlines the process of transitioning fisheries management from a system focused on individual target species to one that accounts for a broad array of ecosystem considerations (i.e., ecosystem-based fisheries management, or EBFM). Focusing on the experience of the US Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, the book represents the findings of a series of workshops that the council convened in recent years. The book is arranged in three sections: ecosystem science and planning; ecosystem social science and planning; and ecosystem policy. Each section starts with an assessment of the current state of fisheries management, examines the data sources and modeling systems used to advance EBFM, and ends with practical methods for more thorough global implementation. The 312-page bookEcosystem Based Fisheries Management in the Western Pacific, edited by Edward Glazier, is available in hardcover for US $174.50 at

New textbook on marine conservation ecology

A new textbook describes the elements of marine biodiversity, the structure and function of ocean ecosystems, and several approaches to marine conservation and management. Significant attention is paid to marine protected areas, including decision-making on size, boundaries, numbers, and connectivity of such sites. The book also addresses relationships between fisheries and biodiversity. Authored by John Roff and Mark Zacharias, the 320-page book Marine Conservation Ecology is available in paperback for US $59.95 at