Niue designates large MPA

In late April, the government of the South Pacific island nation of Niue formally designated the 127,000-km2 Moana Mahu Marine Protected Area, covering 40% of its exclusive economic zone. The MPA will be off-limits to commercial fishing, and is being paired with a downscaling of tuna fishing effort in Niue’s waters. The nation had announced its intent to designate the MPA in 2017 at the Our Ocean conference in Malta.

Seychelles reaches 30% MPA coverage in its waters

In late March, the government of Seychelles designated MPAs around two outer islands, bringing the nation’s total MPA coverage to 30% of its waters. The new MPAs are around D’Arros Island (to be a highly protected zone) and St. Joseph Atoll (to be a sustainable use zone). Seychelles committed to a 30% marine protection goal for its waters in 2012, and in 2014 began work on what would become an innovative project combining marine spatial planning, climate change adaptation, and debt restructure. The new MPAs are part of that marine spatial plan initiative.

Third major bleaching event in five years for Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef has suffered its third major bleaching event in the past five years, with the reef’s southern section bearing much of the bleaching this time. During the back-to-back bleaching events of 2016 and 2017, the southern section was spared while the reef’s northernmost section bore the brunt of the damage, including 50% coral mortality.

Recent topics in The Skimmer: COVID-19 and fisheries; ecological grief; serious games

MPA News’ sister newsletter The Skimmer has recently featured these articles:

MPA-related readings from around the web

Learning and growing together: improving the effectiveness of MPAs needs everyone (Blue Ventures blog) – The SAMs approach (Strategic Adaptive Management for MPAs) is being applied in MPAs and their surrounding communities in Kenya, Tanzania, and Seychelles.

2020 is here: Will we meet global conservation targets for marine protected areas? (Marine Conservation Institute blog) – As of January 2020, the World Database on Protected Areas and the Atlas of Marine Protection reported 7.9% and 5.3% global MPA coverage, respectively.

Did restricting fishers’ lines hurt their bottom line? (Hakai magazine) – Comparing two studies on whether expanding the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in 2016 resulted in lower profits for the commercial fishing sector.

‘We used to be leaders’: the collapse of New Zealand’s landmark ocean park (The Guardian) – Two decades since its creation, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is overfished and overrun with sea urchins. Community groups are calling for stronger protections.

Lakshadweep unveils world’s first sea cucumber conservation reserve (Mongabay) – In response to recurrent smuggling, the administration of India’s Lakshadweep archipelago has designated the 239-km2 Dr. KK Mohammed Koya Sea Cucumber Conservation Reserve.

Catching up on MPA highlights from 2019

While MPA News was on hiatus this past year, many things happened in the MPA world – new site designations, new reports, and new resources. We will be highlighting some of these in coming issues. Stay tuned.

From the MPA News vault

Features and news items from yesteryear

Five years ago: May-June 2015

  • A brief examination of “other effective area-based conservation measures” and what they mean for MPAs
  • New group aims to engage young professionals in MPA field, involve them in high-level decisions

Ten years ago: May-June 2010

  • UK Designates MPA around Chagos Archipelago, But No Decision Yet on How Much Will Be No-Take
  • Experiences in MPA Enforcement, Part II: More Tools and Strategies

Fifteen years ago: May 2005

  • Sportfishing, MPAs, and the Debate Over Management
  • MPA Profile: The Seaflower MPAs, Colombia – Cooperative, Consensus-Based Planning with Stakeholders

Twenty years ago: May 2000

  • Closing 20% of the Ocean: Pro-Reserve Target Is Finding Way into Policies
  • Mapping and MPAs: Practitioners Work to Define Resources, Boundaries

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