marine protected areas

Ocean Roundup: Nations Fail to Reach Agreement on Antarctic Marine Reserve, Norway Planning Large Whale Meat Shipment, and More

Posted Fri, Oct 31, 2014 by Brianna Elliott to derelict fishing fear, marine protected areas, shrimp exports, tidal-lagoon power, whaling

Killer whales swimming in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Nations failed to reach an agreement to protect the Ross Sea in the world’s largest marine reserve. (Photo by Donald LeRo / NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center National Science Foundation / Wikimedia Commons)

- For the fourth time, countries deciding upon the proposed largest marine reserve in the world around Antarctica failed to reach an agreement. The area would span 517,000 square miles, but all involved countries must first agree on a plan for the area to be recognized. The Associated Press


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Ocean Roundup: Scientists Call for “Bold” Action on Overfishing, Shipping Company Pleads Guilty to 2013 Molasses Spill, and More

Posted Mon, Oct 27, 2014 by Brianna Elliott to Hawaii molasses spill, japan whaling, marine protected areas, overfishing, sea level rise

Scientists call for bold action on overfishing

Early-morning trawlers leave port in the Mediterranean. (Photo: Oceana / Juan Cuetos)

- In a new article, scientists called for “bold” action on overfishing and habitat destruction around the world for both industrial and small-scale fisheries. They call for more marine protected areas, and coordinated management and government activities. Phys. org


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Photos: A Beautiful Glimpse into Denmark’s Little Belt

Posted Fri, Jun 20, 2014 by Madeleine Simon to little belt, little belt protection, marine protected areas, Natura 2000, the baltic

Goldsinny-wrasse in Little Belt

Goldsinny-wrasse (Ctenolabrus rupestris) swims past sponges (Haliclona oculata), plumose anemones (Metridium senile) and brown algae in Little Belt during a 2013 Baltic Coastal expedition. (Photo: Oceana in Europe / Carlos Minguell / Flickr)

Tucked between the Jutland mainland and the island of Fyn lies Denmark’s Little Belt: a marine strait composed of lagoons and common eelgrass beds that’s home to a diverse array of marine life. The southern part of Little Belt is protected under Europe’s Natura 2000 network—a network of protected areas that form the backbone of marine protection in the European Union—but a northern region remains unprotected and exposed to pollution, mussel dredging, and fisheries bycatch.


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Ocean News: "Our Ocean" Conference Closes with Major Victories for the Oceans

Posted Wed, Jun 18, 2014 by Brianna Elliott to leonardo dicaprio foundation, marine protected areas, obama our ocean, our ocean conference, seafood fraud

Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, an area in the Pacific Remote Islands Ma

Pink coral gardens of Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, an area in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument that Obama committed to expanding yesterday.  (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters / Flickr Creative Commons)

- On Monday, the president of the Pacific island nation Kiribati announced that he’ll ban all commercial fishing in the country's Phoenix Islands Protected Area by 2015. Though these islands are small, they're home to some of the most abundant coral reef archipelagos in the Pacific.


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Government Officials, and Sea Turtles

Posted Thu, Aug 8, 2013 by Oceana Europe to cabrera national park, loggerhead sea turtles, marine protected areas, mpas, oceana europe, sea turtles

© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell

This post comes to us from our Oceana offices in Europe. Click here to read the post in the original Spanish version. 

August 7, 2013

In an event attended by José Ramón Bauzá, the President of the government of the Balearic Islands, and Gabriel Company, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Territory, the Cabrera National Park hosted the yearly tradition of returning rescued sea turtles to the sea. This event inspires us to take a moment to recognize the benefits of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) like the Cabrera National Park -- safe havens that are essential to the conservation of loggerhead sea turtles and many other species.


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Portugal Nominates Gorringe Seamounts for MPA

Posted Fri, Feb 1, 2013 by Justine Sullivan to atlantic ocean, europe, gorringe bank, marine protected areas, natura network, portugal, seamounts

frogmouth

Turn that frown upside-down, pink frogmouth! (In the Gorringe Bank. © Oceana) 

We are thrilled to announce another ocean victory this week! In an ambitious step for ocean protection, Portugal has decided to nominate the rich ecosystem of the Gorringe Bank as a new Marine Protected Area.

The Gorringe seamounts, located 300 kilometers off the coast of Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean, are a marvel to behold: at 5000 meters high, they boast a veritable kaleidoscope of colorful flora and fauna. Since 2005, Oceana has worked to draw attention and recognition to this bank, and to bring its spectacular seamount ranges into the network of marine protected areas.

An Oceana expedition by our catamaran, the Ranger, to the Gorringe area in October 2012 documented species never before seen in these seamounts, including branching black coral, roughskin dogfish, hydrocoral, bird’s nest sponge, and various gorgonia. Dozens of the species observed on this expedition have not yet been identified. Unfortunately, among these unique wonders, the expedition also documented the invasive presence of litter, debris, and fishing gear, particularly in the rocky seabeds of the banks.

The nomination of the Gorringe as a protected area in the Atlantic brings hope for a halt and even a reversal of the destruction of this complex and diverse ecosystem that hosts corals, sharks, seabirds, whales, and more. Currently, Portugal maintains the least marine protected surface in all of Europe. With this ambitious project, however, the Portuguese government looks to soar from the bottom of the list to the top. Boasting more than 1.7 square kilometers in its Exclusive Economic Zone and nearly 4 million square kilometers claimed as an expansion of its continental shelf, Portugal’s bold step for the oceans is an admirable example for the EU, and for all coastal countries of the world.  


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Victory in Spain! National Park Saved from Oil Development

Posted Fri, Jul 20, 2012 by Michelle Cassidy to Doñana National Park, endangered species, estuary, EU, europe, iberian lynx, marine protected areas, marsh, migratory birds, oil companies, oil refinery, oil spill, oil tanker, purple heron, spain, spanish imperial eagle, victory

donananationalpark

Many birds make their homes in the wetlands of Doñana National Park ©Wikimedia Commons

We’re pleased to announce that the Spanish government has put an end to proposed oil industry development that would have threatened the Doñana National Park, a World Heritage Site, after campaigning by Oceana and our allies.

Plans to build an oil refinery in the Gulf of Cadiz, not far from Doñana, would have led to higher ship traffic in the area and a higher risk of oil spills or accidents during the tankers’ unloading operations. Oceana is currently working to create a Marine Protected Area in this section of the Gulf of Cadiz, which would be linked to the National Park.

Doñana National Park was established in 1993 and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Its marshes, streams, and sand dunes are home to plants and animals found almost nowhere else in the world.

Many migratory birds spend their winters in the park lands, and endangered species like the Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx (one of the world’s most endangered cat species) call this area home. In the marshes of Doñana National Park, you can also find birds like the Avocet and the Purple Heron, both of which depend on the sensitive estuary habitats.

Increased oil tanker traffic could have potentially damaged the already vulnerable habitats of these animals.

Oceana identified the threats posed by the construction of this oil refinery in 2005, and has been campaigning against it with other conservationist groups. Oceana Europe is now calling on the Spanish government to enact similar protections for other marine protected areas.


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Chile to Expand Marine Reserves in 2012

Posted Fri, Apr 20, 2012 by Emily Fisher to chile, easter island, fishing, marine protected areas, marine reserves, rapa nui

A sea turtle in Hanga Roa Bay, Easter Island. © Oceana/Eduardo Sorensen

Great news today: The Chilean Government announced its intention to expand the Salas y Gómez marine reserve and to create a smaller reserve in Hanga Roa Bay – the harbor right off the main town and capital of historic Easter Island.  This new marine conservation plan for Easter Island is set to be established by the end of the year.

The government also announced the plan to develop an assessment and status report of the main fisheries of Easter Island.

Following an expedition in 2010 to Salas y Gómez Island, led by Oceana, National Geographic, and the Waitt Foundation, the Chilean President announced the creation of the original Salas y Gómez marine reserve. This no-take reserve protects 150,000 square kilometers around the island – an area larger than Greece. 

In 2011, Oceana and National Geographic Society partnered with the Chilean Navy and conducted an unprecedented expedition to study the marine area surrounding Easter Island and Salas y Gómez Island to assess their current states of conservation and potential need for new protection measures.  Using the baseline study developed from this collaboration, Oceana proposed the expansion of the Salas y Gómez marine reserve, Motu Motiro Hiva, to an area of 411,000 km2, making it the second largest no-take marine protected area in the world. 

These marine protected areas can only officially be declared after a referendum is conducted for the people of Easter Island, known as the Rapa Nui, and they give their approval for the proposals. 

Easter Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its stone statues, called Moai. Salas y Gómez Island is a small uninhabited island 250 miles east of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. It was described by Dr. Enric Sala, marine ecologist and National Geographic Ocean Fellow, as one of the last undisturbed and relatively pristine places left in the ocean. 

We’re excited to hear that Chile is electing to protect its invaluable marine resources in Easter Island and Salas y Gómez – and we’ll keep you posted as things progress.


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Securing the Future of Filipino Fishers

Posted Mon, Mar 12, 2012 by suzannah to fishing, marine protected areas, mpas, philippines, rare conservation

Rare fellow Marybeth Rita leads a meeting with fishers.

Editor's note: This is part 4 in a series of dispatches from the Philippines.

The last site we visited was overseen by Rare conservation fellow Marybeth Rita. Marybeth has a tough job because her campaign covers three towns separated by a hilly unfinished highway that she traverses by motorbike. After some heavy overnight rain, our van could hardly make it through the deep mud (with no guard rail down to the bay!) so I appreciated the difficulty of Marybeth’s assignment.

The mayor of Lanuza, Salvacion Azarcon, met us at her office in the morning. She was a really inspiring woman, and not just because she offered us some local palm wine at 8:30 in the morning. Called pirik-pirik, the wine was mixed with raisins to give it a very mildly sweet taste. It was good enough that we kept the bottle and had more later in the day.

Marybeth and the mayor were working together not just to enact 24/7 volunteer guarding at the MPA, but to start a critically important program to register fishermen. Right now, most local fishermen aren’t registered in any way, so it’s hard to tell if they’re legally in the municipal waters or not. Once registered, fishers will get an awning designed by Marybeth and the pride campaign that promotes the protection of the MPA.

The registration program will also allow fishers to become eligible for a low-interest 2,500 peso loan (about $58). This is a key element of keeping poverty at bay, because unfortunately many fishers can end up in hock to unscrupulous lenders who make loans at outrageous interest rates.


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