Ocean Currents » marine protected areas http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:26:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 George Leonard: I am a Scientist http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2017/03/15/george-leonard-i-am-a-scientist/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2017/03/15/george-leonard-i-am-a-scientist/#comments Wed, 15 Mar 2017 18:26:57 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13913

As the buzz around alternative facts gets louder and research budgets are slashed, the importance of highlighting the role of science in our lives and the people behind it becomes even more important. Ocean Conservancy is proud to introduce you to our best and brightest scientists through the “I am scientist” series. We hope you will be inspired by people that have an insatiable curiosity about the natural world, a sharp mind that is dogged in its pursuit of facts and a tenacity to find solutions to tackle some of the biggest ocean challenges of our time.

In this kickoff interview, we invite you to get to know George Leonard, Ocean Conservancy’s Chief Scientist, who spoke to Erin Spencer.

Erin: What science experiment most fascinated you as a kid?

George:  As I kid in the 70’s, I watched every episode of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau that came out. One of the most memorable experiments for me took place in the “Sleeping Sharks of Yucatan” where 6-foot-long sharks appeared to sleep in underwater caves with no apparent water flow. Scientists knew at the time that sharks generally had to swim to stay alive. Cousteau and his crew released nontoxic dye in the water near the sharks and observed that these sharks could actually pump water across their gills where no apparent current was present. I thought it was so cool that scientists could do simple experiments like this to learn something new about how the natural undersea world worked. I was hooked by bedtime! And I vowed to get my scuba license as soon as possible, one year later at the age of 13.

Erin:  Who is your scientific hero and why?

George: Nowadays my scientific heroes are marine biologists who play an active and impactful role in society to help people understand and tackle the challenges that our ocean faces.

In many respects, Dr. Jane Lubchenco (former NOAA Administrator) is solely responsible for giving academic scientists the confidence to play leadership roles outside the classroom. She realized that coastal communities and ocean-dependent industries could benefit from a closer relationship between scientists and the people whose livelihoods depend on the very ecosystems that scientists study every day. Seventeen years ago, I worked with her to launch an effort called COMPASS. It was a novel partnership between scientists, a communication agency, a book publisher, and a public aquarium to help scientists step out of what is often called the “ivory tower.” It played a critical role in making marine science more accessible and relevant to people’s lives.

Erin: When did you decide you want to be a scientist?

George: I was always interested in math and science but it took me until I was 23, two years out of college, and working at a financial company in Boston to get to that realization. One day I was at New England Aquarium, looking up at the giant ocean tank when I whispered to myself “This is what I really want to do—I want to study the ocean, how it works, and why it matters.” I went home that night and started looking up information on graduate programs. Within a year, I had moved to California and was diving in the kelp forests off Cannery Row in Monterey, learning how these incredibly beautiful ecosystems functioned and uncovering why a healthy Monterey Bay remains so important to the coastal communities of California today.

Erin: Why, personally, does science matter to you?

George: Science is personal because I see it in nearly everything.  I am writing this from the doctor’s office, where I am picking up a prescription for antibiotics that will beat back an infection which generations ago might have killed me. I drive a car smart enough to sense an impending collision and avert disaster, an engineering marvel founded on a deep appreciation of the fundamental laws of physics. I am able to buy sustainable wild-caught fish at my local fishmonger. Its availability is a direct result of resource managers adhering to a scientifically-determined estimate of how many fish are in the sea and how many can be sustainably caught. I live in a state that is prone to natural disasters, from drought and fire to flood and landslides. Over 200,000 of my fellow residents narrowly averted disaster when flood control engineers took emergency measures to reduce water levels in the Oroville dam last month. High level math and engineering was needed to keep my neighbors safe. And I am proud to say I am part of a community of thoughtful and committed scientists across the West Coast that is working to understand how our changing climate will impact our communities, from residents high in the Sierra Nevada, to farm workers in the agricultural fields of the central valley to the fishermen and coastal residents along the shores of San Francisco Bay. Many aspects of my life wouldn’t be the same without the hard, honest, committed work of scientists. For them, I am deeply grateful.

Erin: What’s the hardest thing about choosing science as a profession?

George: Choosing a career in science isn’t easy but it can deeply rewarding. You need to have a passion for learning and applying that learning from school and through research to solve problems to make the world a better place for all of us. This takes drive, diligence and perseverance. You likely won’t get rich doing it but in many ways, you will live a life of service, which is pretty noble.

Erin: How does your science help people and communities?

George: As Chief Scientist at Ocean Conservancy, I work with a team of experts to develop new knowledge and insights on problems that matter to the oceans and to people and use this information to develop actions that improve the ocean and people at the same time. Everything we do at Ocean Conservancy is founded on a deep understanding of science and respect for the independence of the scientific process, for if we don’t understand the problem objectively, we can’t develop solutions that will work for the long haul.  One of the best examples for me is our work on the establishment of a 1,000 mile long string of marine protected areas (MPAs) in California that is the envy of the rest of the world. Science was the foundation of this work, but it was designed to improve people’s lives too, whether they were a commercial fisherman or a recreational scuba diver. Ten years in the making, California’s MPAs are now delivering: the fish and fishermen are more abundant than ever.

Erin: What is the one thing you would tell a kid interested in science as a career?

George: Ask questions: science is a journey of discovery and the only way to learn new things is to ask questions.  If you find out asking (and answering) questions related to the natural world is fun, then science just might be a career path to you.

Erin: What is your favorite science joke?

George: There isn’t just one; there are books and books of them published by the one and only Gary Larson, who wrote The Far Side for 15 years from 1980 to 1995. You can flip to any page of his books and find yourself having laughed yourself right out of your chair. I didn’t generally think science was humorous until I came across his cartoons in the mid 1980’s when I was in college. While Gary Larson hasn’t published a Far Side cartoon for over 20 years, his work still causes scientists everywhere—including me—to laugh right alongside him.

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Why More Research is Crucial for Protecting the Arctic http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/02/12/why-more-research-is-crucial-for-protecting-the-arctic/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/02/12/why-more-research-is-crucial-for-protecting-the-arctic/#comments Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:45:51 +0000 Todd Stevenson http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11487

The Pacific walrus inhabit many important marine areas across the Arctic and feed at relatively shallow depths on bivalves. Historically walrus have used sea ice as haulout platforms to rest near feeding grounds, but as the Arctic warms and causes sea ice to recede, they are forced to haulout on coastal habitats in unprecedented numbers that has resulted in mass mortality events and higher levels of disease exposure from overcrowding.

Last month I was fortunate to participate in the annual Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø, Norway. The Arctic Frontiers is a leading venue for showcasing relevant research on sustainable growth and environmental sustainability in the region.

The conference attracts influential policymakers and leading scholars from the region and beyond. This year, participants presented their work on a variety of subjects, including climate change, environmental stewardship, fisheries, oil and gas, indigenous people’s rights, pollution and many others.

I presented preliminary findings from research I co-led with colleagues from Circumpolar Conservation Union and Portland State University on marine protected areas (MPAs) and maritime vessel activities occurring within important marine areas in the Arctic. There have been a number of global and regional initiatives to identify important biological and ecological marine areas in the Arctic, yet we know very little about what sort of conservation and human activities occur within them.

We investigated the amount of MPA conservation and maritime vessel activities that were occurring within these areas. This is imperative because the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that represents diverse stakeholders on issues central to sustainable development and environmental protection, is increasing their involvement in developing networks of MPAs across the region.

Our preliminary results indicate that MPAs are underrepresented within many important marine areas, and some experience very high levels of maritime vessel activity. This varied based on the season and the type of vessel, such as those involved in fishing or oil/gas transport.

Despite having more than 5,000 MPAs established across the globe, we know very little about how social and ecological elements respond to them in the Arctic. The scientific understanding of MPAs has been disproportionately influenced by research conducted in tropical regions.

The Arctic can learn from science performed elsewhere, but regionally appropriate research and protocols for monitoring MPA effectiveness in the Arctic is needed. For example, many fish larvae disperse and cetaceans migrate over long distances unique to the Arctic, and it’s critical to understand how networks of MPAs can serve those species. The Arctic Council’s heightened interest in developing new MPAs will hopefully result in an investment in MPA research to understand the unique aspects of the region.

Although my Arctic Frontiers talk was one of few (if not the only) on regional MPAs, I suspect future conferences will include new discussions and research on them. MPAs may not completely stem the imminent changes predicted for the Arctic, but they may help maintain some semblance of social and ecological resilience that are regionally and globally imperative.

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Aftermath of Santa Barbara’s Oil Spill: What’s Happening in the Marine Environment? http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/06/04/aftermath-of-santa-barbaras-oil-spill-whats-happening-in-the-marine-environment/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/06/04/aftermath-of-santa-barbaras-oil-spill-whats-happening-in-the-marine-environment/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:37:56 +0000 Greg Helms http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10302

Oil on the beach at Refugio State Park in Santa Barbara, California, on May 19, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard)

Nearly two weeks after a ruptured pipeline spilled 105,000 gallons of crude oil near Santa Barbara, hundreds of tired and oil-soaked workers are still on site working to scoop, boom and skim what they can of the 21,500 gallons estimated to have reached the ocean. As the slick spreads on the surface, and more oil sinks beneath the waves, a complicated environmental, chemical and biological process is unfolding in the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel. While every oil spill differs depending on local conditions, science and past history allow us to anticipate some of the long-term impacts to marine wildlife, habitats and communities.

Oil produced offshore of Santa Barbara is particularly heavy and thick, likely worsening the effects of external exposure to marine birds, mammals and fish.  These effects include smothering those animals that can’t move, and impairing the ability of some animals to insulate against cold water.  Marine birds that become oiled may lose the ability to fly, forage and feed their young. Highly mobile birds and marine mammals that frequent the ocean surface, where spilled oil initially collects, are especially vulnerable. They may be exposed to oil in one location only to sicken or die elsewhere.  The spill’s location in shallow, nearshore waters exposes a particularly rich array of wildlife and habitats to damage, including shorelines, sea grass, kelp beds, rocky reefs and kelp forests.

Spilled oil on the sea surface that is not captured by booms and skimmers will undergo changes as it’s agitated by waves and currents, and weathered by wind and sunlight.  Uncollected oil begins to degrade and form the orange emulsion “mousse” that is a familiar visual from past oil spills. During this weathering process, some of the oil will collect in low spots and around reefs and rocky outcrops.  This brings the smothering and oiling effects of the spill to the seabed, where the bulk of the near shore ocean’s animals are located.  This sub-surface oil is less visible and more difficult to clean up, and its effects may be the most persistent and profound posed by this tragic incident.

The weathering of spilled oil releases especially toxic aromatic hydrocarbons that can pass through the gills of fish, and enter nerve fibers causing paralysis. Chemical compounds that weather slowly may persist in the environment for months or years. Some will remain suspended in the water, later forming tar balls and “pancakes” that can continue to foul beaches and shorelines for years to come. Some will sink to the sea floor, where exposure of this decaying oil will threaten the growth and reproductive success of bottom dwellers such as sea urchins and sea stars. Oil buried in the sediment layer decays more slowly and can be re-released over time.

While oil is not entirely foreign to local ecosystems, nature is not accustomed to large volumes of crude oil being released suddenly. Several natural oil and gas seeps, which slowly leak some crude oil into the environment, exist in the Santa Barbara Channel. This does not mean local wildlife is immune to the toxic effects of oil; in fact, scientific experiments show this not to be the case.  However, there are numerous species of bacteria and fungi that have evolved to take advantage of the energy stored in petroleum.

NOAA

These microorganisms can aid in the long process of recovery by digesting hydrocarbons using special enzymes.  Blooms of these bacteria and fungi in response to the sudden availability of hydrocarbons is among the ways the marine ecosystem will absorb the oil spill over time, although there is much that is unknown about these processes.  The microbiology of marine systems is complicated, and the potential effects of such blooms may be considerable.

The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the most prolific and well-studied marine ecosystems in the world.  Both of these facts may contribute some hope for the eventual recovery from this oil spill.  While the area’s biological richness undoubtedly increases the count of marine animals injured and killed by the spill, scientists believe that more diverse and healthy ecosystems are more resilient and can recover more quickly and completely from damage and disturbance.

Furthermore, because the Channel has for decades served as a marine laboratory for scientists from nearby UC Santa Barbara and elsewhere, we have extensive information on ecosystem conditions before the spill, which will be critical in accurately  assessing the damage, informing mitigation and remediation efforts, and tracking results.  Studies accompanying Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) established in the area in 2012 brought significant additional information of this type to bear. Having this baseline will help guide restoration efforts, and ensure full accountability and compensation by the pipeline operator. Early efforts to survey damage to marine habitats and wildlife are crucial to long term restoration and are as essential as the clean-up efforts of response workers on the beach.

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California’s MPAs: A Pilgrimage to Where it All Began http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/12/10/californias-mpas-a-pilgrimage-to-where-it-all-began/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/12/10/californias-mpas-a-pilgrimage-to-where-it-all-began/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:00:15 +0000 Samantha Murray http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9597

At 1,400 miles in length, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on our planet and consists of more than 600 types of hard and soft corals. Thousands of varieties of fish and molluscs call this breathtaking maze home. And if that isn’t enough to impress you: the Great Barrier Reef is so massive it can be seen from outer space. Yes…outer space! Needless to say, visiting this special place has been on my bucket list since I was a kid and saw my first film chronicling the explorations of Jacques Cousteau and the crew of the Calypso.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) also served as inspiration for California’s process to establish a statewide network of marine protected areas (MPAs), an effort I’ve spent the better part of the last decade working to support. So when I was invited to speak about these areas at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney this November, I jumped at the opportunity to attend, and to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

It was spectacular. I shared turquoise blue waters with blacktip reef and tawny nurse sharks, took flight with white-spotted eagle rays, and floated quietly in the presence of loggerhead sea turtles. Best of all, I got to rub elbows with the folks who make the GBRMP possible.  And I learned that they spend a lot of time thinking about the same issues as we do: education and outreach, partnerships and local engagement, long-term monitoring, and best practices for enforcement.

Because the Great Barrier Reef is a single, complicated structure with trillions of delicately balanced living and breathing components, it is also ground zero for our increasingly warm and more acidic ocean. What happens to the sensitive, exposed habitats of the Great Barrier Reef in the next couple of years may be a harbinger of what’s to come in the rest of our ocean in the coming decades.

Heron Island, where I spent much of my time, is a coral island that sits directly on the Reef, just north of Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, where the world’s fourth largest coal export terminal is located. The Island is home to nesting green sea turtles, giant shovel-nosed rays, and a 400-pound Queensland grouper named “Gus.” It’s also home to the University of Queensland Research Station, where scientists are studying the effects of carbon emissions and warmer temperatures on local corals.

These scientists know that the fossil fuels we are burning—like coal—don’t just go into the atmosphere; they are also absorbed by the ocean. When this carbon pollution is absorbed by seawater, it turns it more acidic. In fact, the ocean is 30% more acidic today than it was 150 years ago. And increasingly acidic water is bad news for animals that build shells, including corals.

Warming waters, also as a result of carbon dioxide, mean more bleaching and more algae and diseases that corals have to recover from. Scientists in the Great Barrier Reef are looking at what this all will mean for the Reef and for the ocean as a whole.

While the situation is very concerning, it’s my hope that our global community will be able to significantly reduce carbon pollution and ocean acidification to keep our ocean—and the wonders that reside within it— healthy.

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Eight Things You Need to Know About the New Pacific Monument http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/25/eight-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-pacific-monument/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/25/eight-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-pacific-monument/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:46:13 +0000 Emily Woglom http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9280

Photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service

The world’s largest network of no-take marine reserves was announced today; 7 islands and atolls make up this vast area, and President Obama is taking action today to hugely expand the area protected around 3 of them. Here are 8 reasons why today’s announcement is a huge deal:

1)     Protecting the ocean is bipartisan – Obama just built on President George W. Bush’s establishment of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in January of 2009 before he left office. Obama’s announcement today expands that network from nearly 83,000 square miles to more than 490,000 square miles, or 370,000 square nautical miles.

2)     This marine monument is so big, the states of Texas, California, and New York COMBINED could fit within its borders.

3)     The monument spans the International Date Line; Wake Island inhabitants celebrate New Year before most people on Earth, and Johnston Atoll is one of the last places to sing Auld Lang Syne. It’s so big it can be in two days at once.


4)     There is LITERALLY no place like it on earth, because the Monument sits in all four hemispheres: north, south, east and west. It’s two different days; and winter and summer at the same time.

5)     Amazing ocean animals call these islands home. Seabirds, whales, silky and oceanic whitetip sharks all live in these waters. Scientists even recently discovered a new marine mammal in this area – the Palmyra beaked whale.

6)     Ocean Conservancy Board Member and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala calls Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll his laboratory. He has led numerous expeditions to Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef to research sharks and other apex predators that make up this pristine ecosystem. His research has helped scientists figure out what a healthy reef should look like.

7)     The Monument was established using the Antiquities Act, first used by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, and has been used to designate the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty and Devils Tower in Wyoming.

8)      The Administration listened to you – yes, YOU.  More than 170,000 messages were sent to the White House in support of the monument expansion – including nearly 20,000 from Ocean Conservancy members. This is your Monument!

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Marine Protected Areas Around the Globe: Looking Back, Moving Forward and Sharing Recipes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/11/04/marine-protected-areas-around-the-globe-looking-back-moving-forward-and-sharing-recipes/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/11/04/marine-protected-areas-around-the-globe-looking-back-moving-forward-and-sharing-recipes/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 18:00:08 +0000 Samantha Murray http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6927 bouillabaisse med roulle

Photo: cyclonebill via Flickr

I’ve recently returned from the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Marseille, France. The experience of meeting so many different kinds of people, all equally passionate about the ocean, has inspired me. It’s planted a desire to follow up and exchange marine protected area stories—and recipes—from California with those from around the world.

To that end, please join me this Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 2-3 p.m. PST for a lively and fun Twitter Party, where you can share the global MPA stories you heard at IMPAC3. Missed the Congress? No problem—we’d like to hear your thoughts about MPAs, even if you weren’t there. Follow @ThePacificOcean, @OurOcean and @HealTheBay, or #MPAsWork to join the conversation (and win prizes!) this Wednesday.

Sarah Sikich (Heal the Bay) and I (Ocean Conservancy) will be leading the party, but it’s largely driven by participants. Topics will include: our evolving need to understand MPAs over the last decade, Sylvia Earle’s 50 Hope Spots, the value of urban MPAs, the issue of large MPAs and quantity versus quality, our shared MPA lessons from around the world and, of course, where we go from here.

That last issue is particularly exciting: how do we take what we’ve learned, distill it down to something instructive and move forward together? Well, just like a perfect Marseille bouillabaisse, there are a few essential ingredients that must be assembled to design and implement the best MPA in the world.

The first thing the classic Provençal dish requires is a good, local recipe. Everyone does it a little differently, and it’s important to respect local culture. This holds true for MPAs as well. Write something down—a mandate if you can get it—that lays out clear goals and objectives for your specific marine protected area.

Next, start with a long, slow simmer of local Mediterranean fish, spices and herbs. Likewise for your MPA, start with a local stakeholder simmer, though in this case it might be more like a slow stew—at least at first. Get fishermen and tribes and divers and everyone else who cares about the ocean involved early to think about setting up the new protections. Arm them with clear science guidelines to bookend the conversation and ensure the outcome follows the recipe closely enough to meet the goals of the MPA.

The perfect Marseille bouillabaisse requires fresh fish of certain types, from the firm-fleshed to the gelatinous to the shellfish. Likewise, the quality of what’s protected by your MPA, not just the square mileage, is important. Protection needs to include specific habitats—like rocky reef, bull kelp or deep submarine canyon—that will best benefit marine life.

Overall, it’s best to keep the fish stew simple. Don’t go experimenting with new flavors or convoluted ways to accommodate individual dietary restrictions. Likewise, create an MPA with simple rules. No-take areas are by far the easiest to understand and enforce. After that, tinkering with the rules can degrade the integrity of the overall outcome.

It’s important to note that the process doesn’t end when the stew is cooked! The way you serve and eat this delicacy is at least as important as the way you’ve made it. Similarly, an MPA effort mustn’t end once protections are created. Implementation is at least as important as adoption, and follow-through is of paramount importance. This includes education, to enhance MPA compliance among fishermen and local communities, and monitoring, to learn how your MPA is working. Engaging partners like citizens, tribes and fishermen in both enforcement and monitoring efforts is a great way to ensure your MPA has the stewardship necessary for the long haul.

The French dish is traditionally served with a side of croutons that are meant to be individually rubbed with fresh garlic and dipped in a mayonnaise-like rouille by the diner. If you’re new to the process, that may seem complicated, so if you see someone sitting next to you who doesn’t know how to eat it properly, help them out. Similarly, it’s crucial to help ocean users and decision-makers understand the new MPA, especially in the beginning. Signs and maps help people understand new regulations, and outreach to managers will help them integrate the new protections into future coastal and ocean management decisions so that the MPA can be enjoyed to its maximum benefit.

In the end, securing a science-based MPA with local community support and the stamina to stand the test of time follows a fairly simple recipe.  I hope these lessons, largely taken from last month’s Congress, can be applied by others.

Agree or disagree with this recipe for the best marine protected area (and bouillabaisse) in the world? Join us on Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. PST for our MPA Twitter Party to share your thoughts.

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The Top Three Lessons From Marine Protected Areas Worldwide http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/10/24/the-top-three-lessons-from-marine-protected-areas-worldwide/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/10/24/the-top-three-lessons-from-marine-protected-areas-worldwide/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 19:15:35 +0000 Samantha Murray http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6875 Aerial view of Double Cone Rock State Marine Conservation Area

Photo: Kip Evans / Ocean Conservancy

The following is an excerpt from a post that originally appeared on National Geographic NewsWatch.

We may be from more than 80 countries, and we don’t all speak the same language, but after just two days, the 1,200 participants at the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Marseille, France, are bonding. We all believe marine protected areas (MPAs) play an important role in the future of our ocean. Throw in some shared awe over a bowl of bouillabaisse (so. much. fish!) and a few bottles of Provençal rosé, and we’ve got more than enough fodder to fill five days of conversation.

The best part of these conversations is their authenticity and substance. Like a secret handshake we all learned during our years spent advocating for, designing, monitoring or otherwise implementing MPAs, we’ve got a shorthand that—in spite of our differences—allows us to speak in a single language about protecting our global ocean. As a result, three things keep resonating in the presentations and conversations at IMPAC3:

1. Our MPA stories are remarkably alike. They usually start with the realization that the local marine wildlife and habitat are not what they once were.

  • In Madagascar, people created the Velondriake MPA when local economically important octopus populations declined.
  • In the Mediterranean, artisanal fishermen were alarmed at the drastic changes in their local waters and supported the creation of the Marine Park in the Strait of Bonifacio.
  • In California, we recognized the decline of local rockfish and the importance of rocky reefs and passed the Marine Life Protection Act, a law which called for the nation’s first statewide network of MPAs and resulted in protection of 16 percent of the state’s 1,100-mile coastline.

Read more at National Geographic NewsWatch.

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