New marine plans set for much of Canada's Pacific Coast
Marine plans for most of the Pacific coast of Canada have been set as part of a collaborative project involving the province of British Columbia and 18 coastal First Nations (aboriginal Canadian peoples). The plans of the Marine Planning Partnership for the North Pacific Coast, or MaPP, provide recommendations for uses, economic development, and stewardship of the regional marine and coastal environment.
The MaPP study area covers 102,000 km2 of coastal waters and watershed areas. If the recommended Protection Management Zones in the plans are eventually designated as marine protected areas, total MPA coverage in the study area will increase from less than 2% to over 20%.
The marine plans do not address management of uses and activities that the province considers to be federal government jurisdiction, as the federal government did not participate in the partnership. Issues requiring federal government involvement will be subject to consultations with the federal government.
More information on MaPP and the plans is at http://mappocean.org. A film on the MaPP process, called The Great Bear Sea and produced by Green Fire Productions, is scheduled to premiere in late May 2015 - http://ocean-frontiers.org/great-bear-sea
Blue Halo Initiative expands to Montserrat and Curaçao
The Blue Halo Initiative, which recently supported a successful ocean zoning process in the Caribbean island nation of Barbuda, is now partnering with governments and communities in Montserrat and Curaçao to design and implement sustainable ocean policies for their respective waters (http://waittinstitute.org/bluehaloinitiative). In each of the latter countries, the Blue Halo Initiative seeks to collaborate with existing authorities to develop and codify sustainable ocean policies by January 2017. The policies are intended to include ocean zoning, sanctuary zones, and fisheries laws and regulations.
Seychelles developing nationwide marine spatial plan
The Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands, has announced that it is implementing a comprehensive spatial plan for its entire ocean territory, including the creation of what may become one of the largest marine reserves in the region. The percentage of the Seychelles' waters protected as marine national parks is expected to rise from 1% currently to 10-15% percent under the plan. The plan will also protect artisanal fisheries and create zones for activities such as commercial tuna fishing and oil exploration and exploitation. For more information go to www.seychellesmarinespatialplanning.com
Guidance for valuing ecosystems of small island developing states released
UNEP has released a manual to enable policymakers to calculate the true value of ecosystems for the world's 52 small island developing states (SIDS). SIDS' economies are particularly dependent on natural resources. The manual reveals the extent of this dependence and provides a way to capture and account for the contribution of ecosystem services to national economic growth and prosperity. For example, one application that measures the impacts of ecosystem services on SIDS' coastal tourism found that a 1% increase in the number of coastal protected areas is associated with a 2.9% increase in the arrival of international coastal tourists. The manual helps policymakers see the protection of coastal areas and other natural assets as directly benefitting the economy. The manual is at http://bit.ly/SIDSecosystems
US making progress on implementation of national ocean policy
The US White House has released a report on progress made on implementing the US National Ocean Policy, a framework for ensuring the long-term health and productivity of national marine ecosystems and communities. Federal agencies have completed or are making progress on 77% of the 214 actions of the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, and have taken a number of other actions that further the objectives and principles of the policy. Of the plan's nine priority objectives, "Marine Planning" is the furthest along in completing its actions, and "Ecosystem-Based Management" has the lowest percentage of completed or substantially completed actions. Read the full report at http://bit.ly/USoceanpolicyreport
Developing blue economy in China and US
A new report offers recommendations for how the US and China - the world's two largest economies, each looking increasingly to its offshore regions for economic growth - can account for the true value of their marine natural resources and healthy ocean ecosystems. "Developing a Blue Economy in China and the United States" suggests the nations should share best practices in such valuations and promote these practices around the world. Published by the Center for American Progress, the report is at http://bit.ly/ChinaUSblueeconomy
Oceans worth at least US $24 trillion but in steep decline
A new report by WWF places an estimate of the global ocean's value at US $24 trillion but warns that the assets that provide most of this value are in steep decline. WWF says the valuation is a conservative one.
The authors describe how the ocean's capacity to support the food and livelihoods of much of the world's population is diminishing rapidly, and how the erosion of marine and coastal ecosystems jeopardizes economic, social and political stability in many regions of the world. The report recommends eight steps the global community must take to reverse the decline of the ocean economy and start rebuilding ocean health. Read the report at www.worldwildlife.org/publications/reviving-the-oceans-economy-the-case-for-action-2015
Second global assessment of ocean health finds little change
The latest annual calculation of the Ocean Health Index, published in March, suggests ocean health is holding steady. The OHI, which measures individual countries' and global performance on ten biological, physical, economic, and social ocean health goals, rated global ocean health at a score of 68 out of a possible 100 in its most recent assessment. This is an improvement of 1 point from the previous assessment.
Individual country scores, which ranged from a low of 41 (Angola) to a high of 95 (Howland Island and Baker Island), also remained relatively steady. Only nine countries had scores that changed by 5 or more points. South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands' index score increased from 65 to 77 due primarily to designation of a large MPA whereas the Cook Islands' index score declined from 64 to 56 due to large decreases in the apparent population of certain targeted stocks. View the results in detail at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0117863
New syntheses available on impacts of climate change on ocean and coastal communities
Two new reports from the Oceans 2015 Initiative synthesize key marine findings of the Fifth IPCC Assessment Report and newer literature. The findings provide a comprehensive picture of observed and projected impacts of climate change on physical and biological processes in the ocean (Part I) and ocean warming and acidification on marine and coastal socioeconomic activities/sectors (Part II). The reports are available at http://bit.ly/OceansPart1 and http://bit.ly/OceansPart2
Study of economic, social, and environmental impacts of MSP published
A study by the Redstone Strategy Group that examines the economic, environmental, and social impacts of five established ocean plans - the US state of Massachusetts, the US state of Rhode Island, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Norway's Barents Sea, and Belgium - is now available at http://bit.ly/RedstoneMSP. Prior to its public availability, the study was mentioned in the Notes & News of the Dec '14 - Jan '15 edition of MEAM as well as in the OpenChannels-EBM Tools Network webinar series (recording available at https://www.openchannels.org/node/8289). The study shows that the plans delivered an average of US $60 million per year in economic value and increased marine protection.
Study: How MSP could fit with existing management frameworks in Asia and Caribbean
A recent study examines the implications and application of marine spatial planning in Asia and the Caribbean, including how MSP fits in the range of existing coastal and marine management frameworks - from integrated coastal management, to marine protected areas, to the ecosystem approach to fisheries, and more. Published in late 2014, the paper "Marine Spatial Planning in Asia and the Caribbean: Application and Implications for Fisheries and Marine Resource Management" is available at http://bit.ly/MSPAsiaCaribbean
Paper examines tradeoffs between secular and "sacred" values in resource management
In EBM, managers are expected to consider and include all relevant stakeholders and to be mindful of tradeoffs among groups. However, a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that managers may tend to focus on secular, easy-to-measure values - particularly the economic impacts of a policy - to the exclusion of "sacred" values having to do with honor, justice, cultural identity or the well-being of marginalized groups. The paper addresses this topic in the context of coral reef fisheries.
"Technical people implicitly favor secular metrics for evaluating projects," says Tim McClanahan of the Wildlife Conservation Society, who co-authored the paper with researchers from the UK, Sweden, Kenya, and Canada. "They implicitly avoid people who do not appear to share the same values, are unable to communicate those values effectively, or are not a large part of the economic value of the project." This avoidance ends up excluding key issues from the decision-making process, he says, resulting in policies that are difficult to implement successfully over the long term. The paper "Evaluating taboo trade-offs in ecosystems services and human well-being" is available at www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/05/14/1414900112.full.pdf
Paper: "Six myths of EBFM" are impeding implementation
Several factors that have historically impeded the successful implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) have taken on mythical status, to the point that they still obstruct EBFM despite no longer being true. This is the conclusion of a paper in the journal Fisheries authored by scientists Wesley Patrick and Jason Link of NOAA Fisheries (the US federal fisheries management agency). The paper identifies six "common myths" (e.g., "We do not have enough resources to do EBFM"), addresses why they should no longer impede EBFM, and propose solutions for moving forward. "Myths that Continue to Impede Progress in Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management" is at www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/Assets/ecosystems/ebfm/Patrick_and_Link_2015.pdf
Marine policy toolbox helps design ecosystem-based approaches to management in EU
A new toolbox provides guidelines and resources for designing and implementing adaptive marine policies under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, particularly with regard to achieving or maintaining Good Environmental Status. It currently focuses on regulations relevant to the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The toolbox is at www.perseus-net.eu/en/about_the_apf_toolbox/index.html
New MSP "concierge" seeks beta testers
The Natural Capital Project (www.naturalcapitalproject.org) is developing an online service to make it easier to learn about and implement MSP. The MSP Concierge will be able to provide basic information such as an introduction to marine planning and ecosystem services to beginning users as well as in-depth resources for more experienced MSP practitioners, such as helper tools for processing spatial data and synthesizing results. The Project is working with the MSP community to improve the concierge and amass a library of guidance to support a wide variety of decisions. If you are starting (or are in the midst of) an MSP project and are willing to test a beta version of the concierge, please contact Gregg Verutes (gverutes [at] stanford.edu). Your time commitment can be as little as 15 minutes or as long as you feel that interacting with the MSP Concierge is useful for your work.