marine protection tagged posts

Tracking data used to identify biodiversity hot spots in Southern Ocean ecosystems

Ecosystems in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica face growing threats from climate change and fishing pressure, but identifying areas in need of protection is challenging. A paper published March 18 in Nature (together with a companion data paper in the journal Scientific Data) describes a novel solution to this problem, using electronic tracking data from birds and marine mammals.

“We identified common areas used by multiple species, which allowed us for the first time to evaluate how well Marine Protected Areas are serving the entire community of species in the Southern Ocean,” said coauthor Luis Huckstadt, an assistant researcher in the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) at UC Santa Cruz.

Animals go to places where they find food, so identifying areas of the Southern Ocean where pred...

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Scientists call for a more ambitious approach to management of MPA’s

Lyme bay projects

Researchers from the University of Plymouth have contributed to a new book addressing some of the most pressing challenges in marine conservation. Senior Research Fellow Dr. Emma Sheehan and Research Assistant Tom Mullier are among those to share their expertise in “Marine Protected Areas: Science, Policy and Management,” published by Elsevier.

Working alongside Dr. Jean-Luc Solandt from the Marine Conservation Society, and Dr. Sophie Elliott, from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, they contributed a chapter recommending an approach to Marine Protected Areas (MPA) management which isn’t only limited to protecting vulnerable areas of seabed within the UK’s vast network of MPAs.

Their paper outlines the legal tools the UK already has to protect the seabed from damaging activi...

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Australia and European Union push for east Antarctic marine sanctuary

Antarctica protected zone

Australia will push for a million square kilometres of the Antarctic ocean to be protected as a marine sanctuary at an international forum in Hobart this week. Bids to preserve a large area of pristine ocean off east Antarctica have struck opposition in the past, including at last year’s meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, where China and Russia played a part in blocking the proposal.

Australia is co-sponsoring the proposal for an East Antarctic Marine Protected Area, along with the European Union, and will resubmit it at this year’s CCAMLR meeting. The organisation’s membership includes 25 nations and the EU.

The plan requires the support of all members for it to proceed.

The environment minister, Sussan Ley, said the decision to pur...

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Europe’s largest marine protected area proposed

Europe’s largest marine protected area (MPA) has been proposed for an area of deep sea off the Western Isles. The Scottish government has started a public consultation on the plan, which involves an area of 41,611 sq miles (107,773 sq km). Coral reefs are among the wildlife found at depths of 2,400m (7,874ft).

The proposed West of Scotland Deep Sea Marine Reserve would also offer protection to habitats on seamounts, which are extinct volcanoes.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), whose scientists have been among those to survey the habitats, said it would be Europe’s largest MPA.

The designation would aim to protect the habitats involved from marine industry projects and some types of fishing.

Three telecommunications cables cross the site and under MPA rules, the operators w...

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USA’s Biggest Attack on Marine Mammals in Decades

Humpback Whale

On Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee passed a bill, called the “SECURE American Energy Act” (H.R. 4239), that can only be described as an oil industry wish-list. The bill’s purpose is to mow down environmental concerns that stand in the way of the complete exploitation of fossil fuels in this country. For the oceans, this would mean an end to national monument designation and to some of those pesky safety regulations that were put in place after the Deepwater spill, among other things. And although it hasn’t received much attention—yet—one late addition to the bill targets marine mammals in a very big way.

H.R...

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