Seeking marine nominations: 2016 Packard Award and Kenton Miller Award

Nominations for marine candidates are strongly encouraged for two global awards celebrating exemplary achievement in protected areas. Both awards are presented by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), and winners will be announced at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in September this year.

The nomination deadline for each award is 30 April 2016 (please disregard the 31 March deadline posted on the award websites):

  • The biennial Fred Packard Award celebrates individuals and organizations for outstanding service to protected areas – those who have gone beyond the call of duty for marine or terrestrial sites. The award includes a certificate and, under some circumstances, a cash prize. For selection criteria, past awardees, and the nomination form, go to
  • The biennial Kenton Miller Award celebrates innovation in protected area management. The award includes a certificate and US $5000 cash prize. For selection criteria, past awardees, and the nomination form, go to

Ecuador designates no-take MPA around northern Galápagos Islands

With the goal of protecting shark species, Ecuador has designated a 38,000-km2 no-take MPA around the islands of Darwin and Wolf in the Galápagos Islands. Darwin and Wolf are the northernmost islands in the Galápagos archipelago. Prior to the new designation, small-scale local fishing cooperatives were allowed to fish around Darwin and Wolf, and the waters were not included in the neighboring Galápagos Marine Reserve, a World Heritage site. Now such fishing is off-limits and the new no-take area is part of the larger reserve.

The entire Galápagos Marine Reserve is off-limits to industrial fishing. However, most of it – aside from Darwin and Wolf – remains open to smaller-scale artisanal fishing.

According to scientific studies of the area, the waters around Darwin and Wolf hold among the highest abundances of sharks in the world.

For more information, go to and

UN committee holds first round of negotiations on high seas conservation

The first of four rounds of UN negotiations to develop a legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction concluded on 8 April. Held in New York City, the round of negotiations was a productive first step, according to participants.

“Governments came ready to proactively and constructively discuss the need for a global regime to establish high seas marine protected areas and reserves and environmental impact assessments,” said Elizabeth Wilson, director of international ocean policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Peggy Kalas, coordinator of the High Seas Alliance (, said, “This seminal PrepCom [preparatory committee] was a very positive start to the two-year process that we expect to lead to a formal treaty conference in 2018.”

Last year, IUCN high seas advisor Kristina Gjerde told MPA News that the ideal outcome of the process would be a science-driven agreement with overarching objectives of a healthy and resilient global ocean beyond national boundaries. “This would include an ecologically representative and well-connected system of MPAs based on the UN Convention on Biodiversity’s Aichi target 11 – which calls for at least 10% of marine and coastal areas to be protected through such a system by 2020,” said Gjerde. “It would also include ecosystem-based and precautionary management for all human activities likely to affect marine biodiversity and ecosystems beyond national jurisdiction.” (MPA News 16:4)

For more information, go to

Pushing toward the 10% target for global MPA coverage

The Ocean Sanctuary Alliance (OSA), a partnership of diplomats and MPA experts, convened a conference in March 2016 to support the protection of 10% of coastal and marine areas by the year 2020. Although the 10%-by-2020 target – or 10×20, as OSA calls it – is already agreed to under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, global MPA coverage remains below 5% with just four years to go.

The March conference, held in Rome and co-organized with the Government of Italy and the UN Environment Programme, produced a formal call to action. Among other items, the actions include helping nations with capacity building for MPAs, and developing new tools to identify, design, finance, and govern MPAs and MPA networks. Nations with representatives in leadership roles in the OSA include The Bahamas, Italy, Kenya, Palau, and Poland, among others. For more information on the OSA or the call to action, go to or

Higher MPA coverage targets in the news

While governments make gradual progress toward the global target of 10% marine protection set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity for 2020, more ambitious MPA coverage targets have been in the news lately:

  • A new study in the journal Conservation Letters suggests that setting aside at least 30% of the global ocean in MPAs will be necessary to meet several environmental and socio-economic objectives, including benefiting fishermen and other stakeholders. The study based its conclusions on an analysis of 144 MPA studies. “The UN’s 10% target appears insufficient to protect biodiversity, preserve ecosystem services and achieve socio-economic priorities,” write the authors. The abstract of the study “Effective coverage targets for ocean protection” is at
  • A new book by biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson proposes that, in order to save global biodiversity, 50% of both the ocean and land should be set aside in no-take reserves. An interview with Wilson on his book Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life is at

First global map of EBSAs released

The first global map of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) was released in March 2016. The result of four years of research and workshops under the aegis of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the map identifies 203 sites and comprises areas in all oceans and large marine ecosystems, including on the high seas. EBSAs are considered the most critical areas in terms of supporting the healthy functioning of oceans. EBSA status does not automatically lead to formal protection of these sites, but the identified EBSAs are expected to provide a basis for various MPA-planning processes worldwide. For more information on the EBSAs, go to

Guide on improved funding of protected areas

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has released a guide to improving the budgeting and long-term funding of national protected area systems. Drawing lessons from Chile, Guatemala, and Peru, the guide walks readers through budgeting processes and performance indicators. It also advises on cost-reduction strategies, effective communications, and more.

The Guide to Improving the Budget and Funding of National Protected Area Systems is available at

Journal temporarily offers its most popular articles for free, including several on MPAs

The 20 most popular articles of Coastal Management journal since 2014 are currently available free of charge, until 31 May 2016. Ordinarily the journal requires an annual subscription or a per-article fee for access. The available articles include five that are specifically on MPAs, including three pertaining to MPAs in the Coral Triangle region. To view the articles, go to

New resort opens in Tanzanian marine reserve: villa at $10,000 per night

Thanda Island (, an 8-ha private beach property within southern Tanzania’s Shungi Mbili Island Marine Reserve, is opening in April 2016. Encircled by a coral reef and powered by solar energy, the resort is for clientele who desire privacy and conservation, and for whom price is no concern. The rental cost for its five-bedroom villa is US $10,000 per night.

MPA Science Corner

  • Article: “Integrating simultaneous prosocial and antisocial behavior into theories of collective action”, Science Advances, 4 March 2016.
    • Finding: MPAs can change the social structure of their associated human communities, inciting more cooperation and more competition among community members. If these are in balance, better conservation can result.
  • Article: “Marine reserve recovery rates towards a baseline are slower for reef fish community life histories than biomass”, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 23 December 2015.
    • Finding: Large, permanent no-take reserves – and as much as a century of protection – may be necessary for the recovery of slow-growing reef fish species
  • Article: “Marine protected areas and children’s dietary diversity in the Philippines”, Population and Environment, March 2016.
    • Finding: In the Philippines, the nearness of an MPA is positively associated with dietary diversity for children, an indication of good health. The association could be due to multiple factors.

From the MPA News vault

Five years ago: March-April 2011 (MPA News 12:5)

  • The Great Barrier Reef Structural Adjustment Package: How It Grew Out of Control, and Its Implications for Future MPA Processes
  • High Seas Closures in the Western Tropical Pacific: A Step Forward for MPAs in International Waters

Ten years ago: March 2006 (MPA News 7:8)

  • Use of Volunteers in MPA Management: Opportunities, Challenges, and Advice
  • Managing Recreational Fishing in MPAs through Vertical Zoning: The Importance of Understanding Benthic-Pelagic Linkages

Fifteen years ago: March 2001 (MPA News 2:8)

  • Creating Self-Financing Mechanisms for MPAs: Three Cases
  • Citing Benefits of No-Take Areas, Scientists Call for New Networks of Marine Reserves

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