Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Protected areas in the oceans a matter of great urgency say scientific community

More protected areas in strategic ocean locations need to be set up and benefit from proper enforcement in order to address the rapid degradation of the world’s marine environment.

This is one of the recommendations put forward by nearly 600 marine life scientists from 42 countries gathered at the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity in Valencia, Spain from 11-15 November to review recent research relevant to marine biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and ocean management.

IUCN, as an invited speaker at a special Policy Roundtable, assisted the scientists in identifying priority actions to address the loss of marine biodiversity. Kristina Gjerde, IUCN High Seas Policy Adviser, made a well-received presentation about “Protecting Areas beyond National Jurisdiction’.

The conference resulted in the “Valencia Declaration: A Plea for Protection of Marine Biodiversity”, consolidating some of the most important findings and concerns of the present scientists.

Read the Declaration in english and spanish

How can top-down and bottom up approaches to MPA management be combined?

This question is being addressed through a project involving MPA case studies around the world, with the aim of producing a manual ‘Governing MPAs – a guide to getting the balance right’. This project is a collaboration between University College London (Dr Peter Jones) and IUCN WCPA-Marine (Dr Elizabeth De Santo) and is exploring how a balance can be achieved between providing for meaningful stakeholder participation in MPA decision-making processes and providing for the fulfilment of strategic marine biodiversity conservation objectives. It is premised on the view that the successful governance of MPAs essentially involves addressing basic conflicts between conserving biodiversity and exploiting marine resources, and that a balanced approach to addressing such conflicts can be achieved through an appropriate combination of incentives.

The different ways in which this balance has been achieved in different MPAs will be analysed, providing for the development of recommendations on ‘good practice’ in different contexts. The details of this study can be found in the outline of the proposed MPA governance guide, including a list of case studies and further information on the rationale behind the study. There will be a workshop as part of the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC/IMPAC2) in Washington DC in May 2009 to discuss the findings of the case studies and it is planned that the manual will be published by December 2009. We welcome any offers of further case studies and views on this project.

Dr Peter Jones (UCL) <> and Dr Elizabeth De Santo (IUCN) <>

IMCC and IMPAC2 Registration open!

The registration page for the International Marine Conservation Congress(IMCC), which encompasses the second International Marine Protected AreaCongress (IMPAC2), has opened.

The homepage for the conference is located at and registration information can be found at

MPA practitioners should note a number of IMPAC2 related events, including MPA U (a set ofshort training courses focused on MPA and MPA network operation and management), "MPAs as Muse" (a seminar that looks at the role of specialmarine places and art), and an MPA/ecosystem-based management knowledge cafe. Some of these events require prior registration and are space-limited, so MPA practitioners are encouraged to register early. More information on special events can be found on

Please contact Elizabeth Moore at for more information on these events or on IMPAC2.

Friday, 14 November 2008

California's Marine Life Protection Act Initiative releases 'lessons learned' report

California created a groundbreaking public-private partnership in 2004 to implement the Marine Life Protection Act (“MLPA”). The MLPA Initiative has just released a lessons-learned report regarding its second phase, including the process of designing MPA networks on the north-central coast of California .

The report can be accessed at:

Following successfully completed planning for Marine Protected Areas (“MPAs”) in its Central Coast (“CC”) pilot region in 2006, the Initiative moved to its next study region, the North Central Coast (“NCC”), in early 2007. The Initiative relied on the basic model for MPA planning designed for the CC, but modified its approach based in part on the results of an extensive “lessons learned” project. The Initiative’s Blue Ribbon Task Force (“BRTF”) delivered its consensus recommendation for a NCC Integrated Preferred Alternative (“IPA”) to the Commission in early June 2008, along with three alternatives developed by the NCC Regional Stakeholder Group (“RSG”). The Commission, as the ultimate decision maker under the MLPA, is in the middle of its regulatory and decision making process as the lessons learned report is being completed.

This report presents “lessons learned” from the Initiative’s NCC study region. It includes
quantitative measures of satisfaction with the MPA planning process as well as judgments, based
on interviews and observation, about the performance of key Initiative components: the BRTF, the Regional Stakeholder Group (“RSG”), the Science Advisory Team (“SAT”), the Department of Fish and Game (“Department”), the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation (“RLFF”), and the
Initiative staff, known as the “I Team.” The report pays particular attention to efforts by the
Initiative to incorporate lessons learned from the CC pilot region into the NCC study region.

Monday, 10 November 2008

The Nature Conservancy's Global Marine Team issue update on MCA toolkit

This is a brief update to make you aware of new information available on the MCA Toolkit.

Information, presentations and case study posters from the Marine Conservation Agreements Workshop at the World Conservation Congress can be downloaded from:

Perspectives on Marine Conservation Agreements are featured in the October '08 issue of MPA News and can be downloaded from:

A major revision and reorganization to the MCA Toolkit will be undertaken over the next three months. If you have suggestions, please contact us.

Please let me know if you have questions or would like to discuss any of the information provided in the toolkit.Sincerely,Jay Udelhoven, Senior Policy AdvisorThe Nature Conservancy - Global Marine Team