Friday, 30 January 2009

Monaco Declaration on Ocean Acidification

One of the key issues which will face us in the future, in our efforts to better protect and manage marine ecosystems, is ocean acidification. The seas and oceans absorb onefourth of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere from human activities, which in turn is driving their acidification at a rate that is unprecedented. This chemical modification will alter marine ecosystems, upon which over half of the world’s population depends for its primary source of food.

Marine conservation and MPA experts and practitioners should be fully aware of the scale of the changes and issues we now face alongside the ongoing concerns about the impacts of climate change on our marine ecosystems.

This declaration released today, based on irrefutable scientific findings and signed by 155 scientists from 26 nations, sets forth recommendations, calling for policymakers to address this immense problem.

To read the Monaco Declaration click here.

A New Year in review for MPAs!

30 January, Peterborough, UK
From Dan Laffoley – Marine Vice Chair of IUCN WCPA

As another year starts I thought it would be useful to reflect on the past year and on our priorities for 2009. This year is already shaping up to be a very positive one for MPAs and broader ocean issues.

Only a few weeks into January and the marine National Monument declarations by the outgoing President Bush, coupled with a sense of optimism as President Obama’s team begins their work, has helped give a renewed encouragement and energy to take our work forward. The Monuments declarations was one of the behind the scenes pieces of work we were directly involved with so it was good to help shape this initiative and see it happen. Major events in late spring around the world focussing on oceans, such as the First International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas in Hawaii, The World Oceans Conference in May 2009 (Manado, Indonesia) and the First International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) in May in Washington DC will only help drive us all further forward in our important work.

Alongside many day-to-day activities for 2009 WCPA – Marine will be focusing on key priorities set out in our global Plan of Action. To read more about priorities for 2009 and the past year in review click here

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Coral Triangle MPA network report launched

The final phase of the Project: Effective Design and Management of Tropical Marine Protected Area Networks Through Cross-Institutional Learning (MPA Learning Partnership) has now been completed.

This project was a partnership of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Conservation International (CI), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The results of the final phase of the MPA Learning Partnership, which included a perception survey in six MPA network study sites and two participants/experts workshop, are presented in the Marine Protected Area Networks in the Coral Triangle: Development and Lessons.

This book reflects the culmination of one year’s work providing a comprehensive summary of the current status of six different MPA networks and their complexities. It analyzes MPA networks through their various stages of development including planning and design, implementation and evaluation as they are emerging within and around the Coral Triangle region.

The report can be accessed by clicking here. Warning! Please be patient as this is a big file (29MB) and may take time to download!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Marine World Heritage scale-up workshop confirmed

Feb 24, 2009 - Feb 26, 2009 Manama, Bahrain

A partnership of UNESCO World Heritage Centre, IUCN-WCPA and the Kingdom of Bahrain is organising a workshop of global and regional marine experts to train and build capacity on World Heritage. The workshop will include two parallel streams: (a)initiating a global process to identify potential marine World Heritage Sites and (b) reviewing and prioritising marine World Heritage and marine protected area potential in the Gulf and Red Sea. Further regional partners are invited to join with this initiative.

The workshop will bring together IUCN WCPA-Marine regional coordinators from up to 18 global regions, international experts, and individuals and authorities on marine conservation and management in the Gulf and Red Sea sub-region. A total of up to 40 participants is envisaged, comprising 50% global experts and 50% regional experts.

The results of the workshop are expected to accelerate the recognition of marine protected areas within the World Heritage Convention and other related protected area initiatives at global and regional levels. A workshop report will be published and reported to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and will assist the future targeting of marine activities by UNESCO and IUCN.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

More progress needed MPA paper urges

A new paper just published by IUCN marine experts urges greater need for progress with MPAs. The paper published in IUCN's journal Parks, reviews progress with MPAs since the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa in 2003.

The Durban Congress was a significant opportunity to move the marine conservation agenda forward. Whilst only two of the 33 recommendations focused on marine protected areas (MPAs), they were major milestones in re-setting the overall direction and levels of ambition needed for protecting our oceans.

This paper briefly reviews the two MPA recommendations before considering the progress that has been achieved on each since the Durban Congress. The paper ends with some clear steps to significantly advance and scale-up our actions to adequately protect marine biodiversity and associated habitats throughout our oceans.

The paper can be read at:

To read other Parks articles:

The recent declaration by President Bush, that increased the global ocean area protected on one day this January from 0.66% to 0.79%, came too late to be included in this review. See this link for details of that announcement:

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

A monumental decision for the oceans

Gland, Switzerland, 6 January 2009 (IUCN) – President Bush today will formally designate three areas in the Pacific as Marine National Monuments.

IUCN has been one of the major partners of the U.S. Government in the creation of these marine protected areas. The scientific and technical advice provided by IUCN to the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has paid off, as it will result in the creation of the world’s largest ocean protected area covering 195,280 square miles.

The three new Marine National Monuments include two regions of the Line Islands that span the central Pacific and an area in the western Pacific which encompasses the northern Marianas chain and the Mariana Trench – the deepest ocean canyon in the world. Together these new protected areas boast enormous biodiversity both in terms of species and habitats.

“This is a great way to start 2009,” exclaims Carl Gustaf Lundin, Head of the IUCN Global Marine Programme. “It demonstrates the ability of marine conservation to bring humanity together in protecting some of the most unique ocean areas in the world.”

“This significant act protecting the deepest part of our oceans comes over 100 years since the United States protected the deepest place on land, the Grand Canyon. Recognition of the need to fully protect large areas of ocean has been growing in recent years – we hope that this will be followed by other nations around the world,” said Dan Laffoley, Marine Chair of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas who led on the IUCN advice to CEQ.

“The U.S. Government is to be applauded for its significant efforts in adding to the U.S. and global marine protected estate,” said Scott Hajost, Executive Director of IUCN U.S.

However, conservation of the designated areas appears not to be complete.

“We would hope that the whole Mariana Trench – and not only the bottom – is protected. If fishing in this surface water continues, then many of the rare deep sea creatures living in the trench will starve,” said Lundin.

“While we can’t forget that fighting climate change remains a major challenge to assure the future of the oceans, increasing the number of marine protected areas is an absolute must. Dramatically improving high seas governance should also be a top priority. We must now hope that the incoming U.S. Administration will build on today’s announcement and give our oceans the attention they deserve,” added Lundin,

Notes to Editors:

Carl Gustaf Lundin, Head, IUCN Marine Programme, +41 22 999 00 01; m +41 79 477 1400, e
Dan Laffoley, WCPA Marine Chair and Head, Marine Conservation, Natural England, +44 1733 455 234, m +44 7702253031, e

Media Communications:
Brian Thomson, +41 22 999 0251, m +41 79 721 8326, e
James Oliver, t +41 22 999 0217, e
Taffeta Gray, IUCN US Communications Advisor, +1 202 518 2043, e

About IUCN
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

The world's oldest and largest global environmental network, IUCN is a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists and experts in some 160 countries. IUCN's work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. IUCN's headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Website launch for viewing global marine cumulative impact maps

An interactive mapping website has just been launched showing the cumulative impact of human activities on marine ecosystems around the world.

With this website you can:

*view maps of cumulative human impacts, and each of the individual component datasets that were used to calculate cumulative impact.
*zoom in and out to any scale and location of interest, or type in a specific lat/long and zoom to that location
*produce a summary report of the results for any location that includes explanations for why the location has the impact scores that it does
*download data for any given location

Benjamin S. Halpern
Associate Research Biologist
Project Coordinator, Ecosystem-based management of coastal-marine systems
Nat'l. Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
735 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
phone: 805.892.2531
fax: 805.892.2510