Friday, 31 October 2008

Pictures now online from the marine reception held at the World Conservation Congress!

On the 7th October IUCN WCPA - Marine, Natural England, Google Earth Outreach and National Geographic hosted a marine reception at the Maritime Museum in Barcelona in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Nearly 400 leaders in ocean conservation gathered to celebrate the marine achievements of the Congress and in particular the European and Congress launch of National Geographic's new edition of the Atlas of the Oceans.

To see and download the official photographs of the event taken by Jerker Tamelander please click here:

Sunday, 26 October 2008

20th MPA for South Africa

The 20th Marine Protected Area (MPA) along the South African coastline was formally promulgated by Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism on 17 October 2008.

The Minister stated that the Stilbaai MPA was declared to assist in the protection of the environment and living resources, and will assist in rebuilding over-exploited fish stocks. Approximately 75% of the estuary will now have complete protection from fishing, and other activities in the Marine Protected Area will be controlled to reduce the risks of habitat degradation and to preserve the vis-vywers, which have archaeological and cultural value.
The proclamation of the Stilbaai MPA is the result of 10 years of motivation from non-governmental organisations and residents in the town of Stilbaai and collaboration between officials and scientists from Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) and CapeNature.
It is significant to note that the entire Goukou Estuary lies within the MPA. This is the first estuary that is included in a MPA in the Western Cape. The increased conservation status of the estuary will help provide urgent protection for the marine resources of the estuary and allow for more effective management.

CapeNature has hailed this promulgation as an indication of the success of collaboration between civil society, communities and government to care for natural resources.

For more information please contact CapeNature's public relations officer, Liesl Brink on 021 659 3446 or e-mail

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

High seas principles launched

During the IUCN World Conservation Congress, IUCN’s President, Valli Moosa, launched 10 Principles for modern high seas governance and challenged international experts to find new ways to implement them. The 10 Principles reflect fundamental principles that nations have agreed to in various treaties and declarations but have largely failed to implement on the nearly 50% of the planet that lies beyond individual nation’s jurisdiction.

For centuries we have treated the high seas as open and free to all nations, but the responsibility of none. As a result, high seas fish stocks are plummeting, biodiversity losses are mounting, and now climate change brings new threats that can tip the balance away from ocean health and resilience. Discussions to improve the governance of the high seas have gained momentum in recent years, and have reached the highest levels at the United Nations. However, progress is painfully slow. Too often, the debate focuses on issues where nations differ rather than on actions that all nations can agree to. These principles are designed to stimulate progress by identifying common guidelines for action. They reflect the results of an electronic consultation conducted by IUCN's Global Marine Programme.

The 10 Principles for High Seas Governance call for: 1) reaffirming and enforceing international law, in particular, the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS), to condition the enjoyment of high seas freedoms with the implemention of the Convention’s duties; 2) reaffirming the fundamental duty in UNCLOS to protect and preserve the marine environment; and 3) increasing international cooperation to reform management institutions and to fill remaining institutional gaps. Other principles reaffirm and elaborate previous commitments to: 4) science-based management; 5) the precautionary approach; 6) ecosystem-based management; 7) sustainable and equitable use; 8) public availability of information; 9) transparent and open decision-making processes; and 10) State responsibility for the actions of their citizens, companies and vessels and State liability for harm to the global marine environment.

Monday, 20 October 2008

New guidelines released for applying the IUCN protected area management categories

These new guidelines were launched at a major event at the IUCN Congress in Barcelona last week and represent the culmination of much work and extensive consultation with IUCN and WCPA Members over the last 4 years.Congratulations are particularly due to Nigel Dudley and the WCPA Task Force on PA Management Categories which led efforts on this important publication. The guidelines provide new advice for their application to marine protected areas.

The web link to the "Guidelines for Applying the PA Management Categories" is:

Can you help review IMPAC 2?

Given the high volume of submissions for individual presentations, speed presentations, and posters for IMPAC2, the IMPAC2 Steering Committee is seeking experienced MPA practitioners willing to serve as reviewers.

The reviewers would be expected to review 8-10 papers of 250 words each, between late October and mid-November, through an on-line database being used to manage the reviews. All reviews are protected in the database and would not be visible to anyone except the IMPAC2 Steering Committee.

If you are willing to serve in the review role, please contact Elizabeth Moore at by Wednesday, October 23.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Global best practice guidance released on building MPA networks

Barcelona, SPAIN — The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),and the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) of the IUCN released Establishing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks — Making It Happen, a new document that provides guidance for designing and implementing effective marine protected area (MPA) networks. This guide represents an evolution of learning and experiences in the development and management of MPA networks worldwide. Information in this guide has been driven by participants from several international meetings over the last 4 years including the World Parks Congress, Coastal Zone ’05 and the International MPA Conference in Australia.

The new guide contains essential information for MPA planners, managers and conservation practitioners about the role of MPA networks in achieving marine conservation goals. The guide represents a synthesis of scientific knowledge, institutional experience and global case studies that presents the most relevant lessons in building networks that are functional and resilient to human and environmental threats.

Establishing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks — Making It Happen is composed of five main elements for management application:

1) Essential information on the role of MPAs and the value of scaling up to networks
2) The importance of understanding the social, economic and political context and the need for broader marine and coastal management frameworks
3) Emerging best practices for planning and implementing MPA networks
4) A comprehensive summary of the best available scientific information on 5 ecological guiding principles in relation to MPA network design
5) Case studies from the field that demonstrate methods used to design and implement both scientifically rigorous and functional MPA network

Download the document from Protect Planet Ocean

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Get informed with Protect Planet Ocean!

A key event at the World Conservation Congress was the launch of the Protect Planet Ocean web site, built through an unprecedented global partnership between leading names in ocean conservation.

So here are 5 reasons to bookmark PPO:

1. It is the global ocean web portal
2. It is constantly refreshed (MPA of day, news, blogs, podcasts, experts)
3. It hosts the unique iMPA pages built with Google – add your pictures, videos and stories
4. It is global coverage – has regional perspectives - and site information
5. This is only the beginning – more features and technologies to be added!

Dont miss out - bookmark PPO now!!

Take a tour of the High Seas

At the World Conservation Congress, a joint initiative was launched to highlight special places in the least protected place on Earth: the high seas. The centerpiece of which is a brochure showcasing ten “gems” of the high seas.

The publication, launched by an unusual partnership comprising the Chantecaille Beauté company together with IUCN, World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), and Marine Conservation Biology Institute (MCBI), features sites such as the Ross Sea in the Southern Ocean, the Emperor Seamount Chain in the Pacific Ocean, the Sargasso Sea and Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Saya de Malha Banks in the Indian Ocean.

High seas are the open ocean and deep seabed areas outside individual nations’ jurisdiction and make up nearly half of the Earth’s surface and almost two-thirds of the ocean. They provide feeding grounds for great whales, are traversed by imperiled bluefin tunas, and are home to deep-water corals that are thousands of years old. The publication features sites such as the Ross Sea in the Antarctic, the Emperor Seamount Chain in the Pacific Ocean, the Sargasso Sea and Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Saya de Malha Banks in the Indian Ocean.

Printed copies are available at the World Conservation Congress or on-line by visiting or

Download the PDF at

Adrift, Tales of Ocean Fragility book launched at IUCN Congress

Last week at the IUCN World Conservation Congress a unique book was launched by IUCN's marine species experts. Using compelling images it sheds light on the most critical issues facing our oceans - and their inhabitants - today.

Find out what fish is considered a 'chic sex-changer', why climate change may mean more female turtles, and what species is known for long marches under the waves. Conceived as a 'cocktail table' book, Adrift gets across its key messages of concern and hope for our ocean planet with a minimum of words and page after page of poignant imagery.

A product of the Marine Conservation Sub-Committee, an advisory body on marine species issues within IUCN, all proceeds from sales of this book will be used to support grants for marine species conservation projects led by the experts who volunteer their time for the Species Survival Commission of IUCN.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Global MPA Plan of Action launched

7th October - Today at the 4th World Conservation Congress IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas launched a plan to help protect planet ocean using Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

It is well recognised that despite our best efforts more needs to be done to protect our oceans. Nations of the world have already committed to this task, but so far less than 1% of our seas have been set aside for wildlife, and of that a much smaller amount is adequately managed. Much more needs to be done using MPAs to rise to the challenge of protecting wildlife, combating climate change and sustaining livelihoods and human health.

The MPA Plan of Action took two years to develop through an unprecedented global collaboration between leading ocean experts, with funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The Plan sets out the key actions that the World Commission will take in the coming years to support a significant increase in protection for our seas and to complement the work already underway worldwide by conservation partners on this issue.

Read in English, French and Spanish.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Global first for marine conservation - MPA layer in Google Earth

You can now explore and get involved in protecting our seas without even getting wet or leaving your home! Over the past year we have been working with the teams at Google Earth and Google Earth Outreach to devise a way to change this major gap in knowledge and bring marine protection and the wonders that our nature reserves in the sea can offer to internet users worldwide. Today as part of the celebrations at the 4th World Conservation Congress in Barcelona we are launching a special IUCN WCPA - Marine layer through Google Earth Outreach that not only shows you where we have protected the sea, but which also allows you to get involved by sharing pictures, videos and stories about your local sites in a way not previously possible. In doing so we will make history by working together to provide the first illustrated picture of global ocean protection of wildlife and habitats using Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The MPA layer is an outreach initiative between Google, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and its global commission of scientific experts – the World Commission on Protected Areas.

To find out more
To download the layer

Get results: fully protected, fully online

What is it like to snorkel over a coral reef or SCUBA dive through a kelp forest protected from all fishing? What does scientific research tell us about the effects of marine reserves, areas of the ocean that are fully and permanently protected from extractive activities? Scientists around the world have studied and documented the effects of marine reserves and now this information is just a web link away.

Protect Planet Ocean
is an exciting new online resource providing compelling imagery, stories, and information about Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around the world, including information about over 100 marine reserves. Scientific data, case studies, and photographs tell an intriguing tale of marine animals and plants becoming more numerous and larger within these fully protected places. Go to and click Get Results to see what a fully protected ocean ecosystem looks like. From there, you can also dive into Google Earth and explore the new MPA layer, which includes an animated and interactive underwater view of some marine reserves, giving you that opportunity to snorkel over an un-fished reef.

Oceans Live! Dive into Belize's Glover Reef for a live underwater show

Watch a live underwater video broadcast of the Belize Barrier Reef from Glover's Reef Atoll and spot sharks and turtles from the comfort of your own home! This World Heritage area is a globally important ecosystem. World Heritage sites are areas recognized internationally for their outstanding value as natural and cultural treasures. The program, involving 185 countries, is one of the most universal legal instruments for the protection of these unique areas of global importance and demonstrates that the conservation of our World Heritage is the duty of the international community as a whole.

The new WildCam: Belize Reef is a unique partnership project between the United Nations Foundation, IUCN and its World Commission on Protected Areas and the National Geographic Society (NGS) to bring you WildCam Belize Reef. Our live stream brings you an unprecedented view of the vibrant beauty and diversity of this coral reef ecosystem. Launched today at the 2008 World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The camera is located 600 meters (1969 feet) offshore and 20 meters (66 feet) deep. So, sit back and dive in to the wonderful world of tropical coral reefs.

To find out more visit Oceans Live! at protectplanetocean

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Global MPA managers unite to move marine management forward


HOW IS YOUR MPA MANAGED? 15 marine protected area practitioners from 11 countries have gathered for the past 7 days in Barcelona, Spain in a World Conservation Congress (WCC) pre-conference workshop to answer this very question.

Marine protected areas are established for a wide range of purposes, including protecting marine species and habitats, conserving marine biodiversity, restoring fishery stocks, managing tourism activities and minimizing conflicts between user groups. Yet, past experience has shown that many of these MPAs lack even a basic management plan.

How is Your MPA Managed? workshop brought together MPA managers, representing a range of biogeographic, social, political and economic settings, to share the experience of developing a management framework for their sites. The purpose of the training workshop was to test a draft version of the “How is Your MPA Managed?” IUCN-WCPA and NOAA planning guidebook. The training workshop provided an opportunity for an internationally-diverse set of MPA managers to share their MPA management experience and knowledge with one another before attending the Congress. With the knowledge of how to use the draft guidebook, managers will return home with a workplan to test the draft guidebook and develop an MPA management plan for each of their sites.

“The lack of effectively managed MPAs is a global issue and each of the 15 participants in this workshop have a responsibility to carry this management planning framework to their broader regions and beyond to ensure that the 2012 recommendations of the Durban Accord are met”, said Dan Laffoley chair of WCPA-Marine. “What I was looking for is a framework at the highest level available – qualified, certified and shared amongst MPA practitioners” said workshop Carlos Franzosini from the 127 ha Miramare Marine Reserve in Italy, the smallest MPA represented at the workshop. “This workshop has been very helpful to those of us with little experience managing MPAs. Working with countries from around the world, I am going home with a whole new level of experience and expertise” said Asril Djunaidi from the world’s largest MPA effort in Indonesia. From community based MPAs to the 4 million ha coral triangle initiative, MPA practitioners from around the world will be returning to their MPAs with a new tool and the support of MPA managers from around the world.

The “How is Your MPA Managed “ workshop was made possible through a grant from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, in partnership with IUCN/WCPA, WWF-Mediterranean Programme Office, Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).