Archive for Marine Reserve
e360.yale.edu 14th June 2012
Quoted from source:
‘Australia has announced that it will create the world’s largest marine reserve, a network of protected areas that will cover 1.2 million square miles, more than one-third of the country’s waters. Environment Minister Tony Burke, making the announcement in advance of the Rio+20 sustainability summit, said the action will expand the number of Australia’s marine reserves from 27 to 60 and will protect waters of the Coral Sea and other key ocean habitats. “It’ time for the world to turn a corner on protection of our oceans, and Australia today is leading that next step,” said Burke. “What we’ve done is effectively create a national parks estate in the ocean.” Limited fishing and oil drilling will be allowed in some areas, and the fishing industry will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for reducing or eliminating commercial fishing in numerous tracts of ocean.’
LMV comment: only 1.1 million square miles of the world’s oceans were protected before the expansion, of which 310,000 square miles were in Australian waters. This move by the Australian government means that over half of the world’s marine reserves are now in Australia.
www.independent.co.uk 18th February 2012
Researchers at Stanford University in California have come up with a radical new idea for tackling the problem of by-catch in the world’s oceans. By-catch is when fishermen are fishing for a target species, such as tuna, but catch other species, such as sharks, turtles, dolphins, and rays, unintentionally in the process. The phenomenon has been instrumental in radical declines of numerous species, including the Leatherback turtle whose populations have declined in the Pacific by 90% in 20 years. Now scientists have suggested that mobile marine reserves, monitored by satellites, could solve the problem. Existing static marine reserves are not adequate as endangered species simply migrate into unprotected waters. “I thought 12 years ago that we would not be able to do this, but I would say in the last 5 years the science has grown so quickly, at least in areas where we have rich data, we are on the cusp of doing this,” Larry Crowder, a professor of marine biology at Stanford, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver. “We don’t need to close the entire ocean, we only need to close the place where they are concentrated, where by-catch is particularly likely to be found, and leave the rest of the ocean open.” The main places the mobile marine reserves would focus on would be areas of high marine biodiversity such as “upwellings” (where minerals are brought to the oceans’ surfaces by rising currents) and “convergence zones”, where ocean currents collide.
e360.yale.edu 29th August 2011
Quoted from source:
‘A new study says the preservation of just 4 percent of the world’s oceans would protect critical habitat for most of the world’s marine mammal species. After comparing maps of where each of the planet’s 129 marine mammal species are found — and where conservation efforts would be most productive — scientists from Stanford University and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México identified 20 areas of “species richness” based on the number of species present, risks of extinction, and the presence of species unique to the area. According to their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, preserving just nine of those 20 conservation sites, which cover 4 percent of the world’s oceans, would protect habitat for 108 species, or 84 percent of the Earth’s marine mammal species. The sites are located off the coasts of Baja California in Mexico, eastern Canada, Peru, Argentina, northwestern Africa, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. At least 70 percent of those areas are significantly impacted by human activities, highlighting the urgency to enhance marine conservation efforts, the authors said.’
The first international meeting of the world’s leaders, environment ministers and conservationists to discuss the importance of the marine environment is due to begin in the principality of Monaco, between France and Italy, on the 31st of March. Headed by HRH Prince Albert, the so-called Monaco Blue Initiative aims to persuade those-that-make-the-decisions of the importance of the world’s oceans and how marine conservation is not an economic hindrance. The setting of the summit could not be better. Squashed against the Mediterranean, Monaco borders the most intensively fished sea in the world and one that is in desperate need of more marine reserves. 35 ‘international key figures’ are due to attend the conference in Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and discuss two issues: the deep sea and the need to protect its biodiversity, and the role of large marine species as a keystone of marine ecosystems.
See the links above to keep updated on the debates.
e360.yale.edu 25th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The Pacific Island nation of Palau has announced the establishment of a 230,000-square-mile marine mammal sanctuary that will protect whales, dolphins, and the endangered dugong — a relative of the manatee — from hunting and fishing. Harry Fritz, Palau’s Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism, announced the creation of the Mongolia-sized sanctuary at a meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan. He said that the sanctuary will protect as many as 30 species of whales and dolphins that either breed inside Palau’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or travel through it. In addition to protecting the rare dugong, the sanctuary also will promote whale-watching tourism in Palau’s waters, Fritz said. Last year, Palau declared a sanctuary for sharks inside its EEZ in an effort to slow the booming global trade in shark fins, used in soups in China and Asia. The Convention on Biological Diversity has set a goal of preserving 10 percent of the world’s oceans as marine sanctuaries by 2012. Currently, only 1.17 percent of marine waters are protected, according to the Nature Conservancy.
e360.yale.edu 27th September 2010
Quoted from source:
‘A coalition of European nations has established a series of protected areas in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean where fishing would be banned, the first network of protected zones outside of the territorial waters of individual states. At a meeting in Norway, the OSPAR Commission, a coalition of 15 governments in western Europe, targeted six ecologically sensitive areas — including seamounts and sections of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge — covering about 110,000 square miles (285,000 square kilometers). The areas are home to such critical species as whales, sharks, rays, and cold-water corals. Protective measures could include permanent fishing bans, restrictions on offshore drilling and mining, and even curbs on shipping. “This is a historic step,” said Erik Solheim, Norway’s Environment minister. “We will try to inspire other nations to do the same, like in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific and other oceans.” The only other marine protected area in the high seas is a 31,000 square-mile reserve off Antarctica, but the zones created by the European states represent the first network of marine protected areas outside of territorial waters’.
www.independent.co.uk 12th September 2010
Plans to turn the Chagos Islands into the world’s largest marine reserve by the British government have been rescued by the Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli after government spending cuts threatened to shelve the idea. £750,000 a year is set to be lost from tuna-fishing licenses and there were worries there would not be enough money to police the quarter of a million square mile marine reserve in the Indian Ocean. The plans were put forward by then Foreign Secretary David Miliband in April this year but were condemned by Chagos islanders who were seeking to return home after being exiled to make way for the US airbase of Diego Garcia Island. The Blue Marine Foundation, established by journalist Charles Clover following his work on the documentary ‘The End of the Line‘, managed to secure financial backing from the Bertarelli Foundation to save the project. Additional funding has been granted by the Pentagon and Pew Foundation.
The Chagos archipelago consists of 55 islands covering an area of around 210,000 square miles. It is home to 220 species of coral, 1000 species of fish and 33 species of aquatic bird. It has been described as the most pristine tropical marine environment on Earth.
Sources: BBC News 1st April 2010, The Guardian 30th August 2010
The creation of the largest marine reserve in the world by the British Government has caused anger among the local inhabitants. The planned reserve is to cover 545,000 square kilometres around the Chagos islands in the Indian Ocean and would include a ban on all fishing. However, the inhabitants of the islands (the Chagossians) have already been subjected to forced deportation in the 1960s due to the construction of a US airbase on the island of Diego Garcia. Furthermore, they believe that the creation of a protected reserve would effectively mean that they could never return from their current homes throughout the UK, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
The reserve was declared by David Milliband of the Labour Party in early 2010 but so far only one UK Member of Parliament has opposed the idea (Diane Abbott). If one thinks that this reserve doubles the size of all existing reserves in the world, then how important is it to satisfy the demands of a relatively small group of people to live there? Should human interests be sacrificed to make way for environmental protection? Should the oppressive actions of a colonial power be forgiven due to one good act? Is there any reason why the two goals (the creation of a marine reserve and the repatriation of the archipelago by the Chagossians) have to be mutually exclusive?