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Tag archives for marine protected areas

No-take sanctuaries proven to be most effective way to resuscitate and protect ocean life

New analysis of previous studies shows that biomass of whole fish assemblages in marine reserves is, on average, 670 percent greater than in adjacent unprotected areas, and 343 percent greater than in 15 partially-protected marine protected areas (MPAs), according to an essay published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science. Marine reserves also help restore the complexity of ecosystems through a chain of ecological effects (trophic cascades) once the abundance of large animals recovers sufficiently, say the authors, Enric Sala, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, and Sylvaine Giakoumi, Universite Cote d’Azur, in their opinion essay Food for Thought: No-take marine reserves are the most effective protected areas in the ocean.

There are significant additional benefits from a rigorous protection of portions of the ocean. “Marine reserves may not be immune to the effects of climate change, but to date, reserves with complex ecosystems are more resilient than unprotected areas. Although marine reserves were conceived to protect ecosystems within their boundaries, they have also been shown to enhance local fisheries and create jobs and new incomes through ecotourism,” Sala and Giakoumi say in their essay.

Monitoring sharks in the mid-Pacific: a journey to the sharkiest place in the world

Filming large schools of sharks at Darwin and Wolf islands, in the Galapagos. These islands were declared a sanctuary due to the large biomass of sharks. How do we know? The shark team at the Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station uses underwater video-monitoring surveys at this remote shark haven to understand and assess shark aggregations. This is the story of the team’s week-long sharky trip.

Experts say marine protected areas are great but could be better with more staff and funding

A new study suggests many marine protected areas suffer from a lack of adequate staffing and funding–and that’s holding these areas back from reaching their full potential as protective areas for marine life.

Lack of Staffing, Funds Prevent Marine Protected Areas from Realizing Full Potential

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an increasingly popular strategy for protecting marine biodiversity, but a new global study demonstrates that widespread lack of personnel and funds are preventing MPAs from reaching their full potential. Only 9 percent of MPAs reported having adequate staff.

The findings are published in the journal Nature on March 22.

Voyaging Through 4 Global Marine Treasures

We have had to adjust our course many times to travel downwind and remain focused on our destination. These lessons from sailing hold true for protecting our oceans. The first step, in either situation, is being clear about our destination.

How to Use the Ocean Without Using it Up

This TED talk was developed while I was in residence at TED headquarters in New York City. The transcript is below. _______________ When I was five, my parents took me from Brooklyn, NY to Key West, Florida. They taught me to swim, and showed me my first a coral reef. I feel completely in love…

Top 10 Ocean Conservation Victories of 2016

From wars, to politics, to the deaths of eminent artists, 2016 was a year many people were eager to see end. It was also another record breaking year for the dangerous warming of our planet. Yet, despite that thick layer of doom, humanity came together in inspiring ways – for water protection, for refugees, for…

Tracking Antarctica

The largest wilderness on Earth – Antarctica is also the most isolated continent. The oceans around Antarctica are some of the most pristine in the world with more than 8,000 marine species, more than half of which are seen nowhere else in the world. However, this epic wonder is under pressure. Parts of the Antarctic…

Antarctic invertebrates: cheaters, kidnappers and possibly lifesavers?

This past March, I had the privilege to visit the Antarctic Peninsula with One Ocean Expeditions as part of a discussion among Antarctic stakeholders on the future of Antarctica. I enjoyed seeing all the typical Antarctic animals – penguins, whales, and seals – but a real highlight was getting to meet Dr. Bill Baker at…

WCS, Waitt Foundation, blue moon fund, and Global Environment Facility Announce $48 Million Marine Commitment

At the U.S. State Department’s Our Ocean 2016 Conference, in Washington, D.C., the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) — together with the Waitt Foundation, the blue moon fund (bmf), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) — announced a $48 million commitment to expand the world’s marine protected areas (MPAs). The conference, organized by Sec. of State John Kerry, brings heads of state, scientists, business leaders, NGOs, and others together to tackle key issues impacting our oceans globally.

Saving Sharks and Coral Reefs in Malaysian Borneo

Borneo. The name speaks of wildness, of dense rain forests, biodiversity, of elephants and orangutans. Eighteenth century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, co-theorist of speciation, natural selection and evolution, traveled extensively throughout Malaysia and Indonesia describing terrestrial flora and fauna. His work founded the field of biogeography, and Wallace’s Line describes the separation of species between the ecoregions…

Hope Spots: An Actionable Plan to Save the Ocean

The immense problems facing the ocean often leave us feeling powerless. But what if there was a concrete, actionable strategy to nurse the ocean back to health? Dr. Sylvia Earle argues that there is. As a result, Mission Blue and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are opening up nominations for ‘Hope Spots‘ – marine…

Important and Overlooked: Protecting Open Water

The open ocean may be vast but it’s not limitless. Under that glassy expanse, the pelagic environment is more than empty blue water. It’s streaked and spotted with migratory thoroughfares and breeding grounds for marine mammals, turtles, fish, and seabirds. Thousands of miles from shore, the sea still thrums with life. Yet there is no…

Shark Fishing at Cabo Pulmo Marine Park

On February 27th 2016, the Mission Blue team was greeted by a dismal sight as we arrived at Bahia Los Frailes in Cabo Pulmo Marine Park: strewn across the beach were the hacked carcasses of approximately 20 sharks of several species. Sitting on the sand was a box full of shark fins, no doubt destined for Asian markets. The issue…

5 Discoveries in Cabo Pulmo Marine Park

On Mission Blue’s recent Hope Spot Expedition to Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, located in the Gulf of California Hope Spot, five discoveries were made. 1. The Ocean is For Everyone Dr. Sylvia Earle and the Mission Blue team were deeply honored to spend the morning of February 27th with Eduardo Martinez, director of Fundacion Teleton. This Mexican nonprofit works with disabled people—like the…