Open thread: marine protected areas

2013-12-08

in Economics, Law, Politics, Science, The environment

I have written a number of times before about the unsustainable nature of global fisheries and the sorts of policies that might help combat that.

Marine protected areas have an important role to play in that effort. They constitute sanctuaries in which fish are protected from the hugely destructive fishing technology that is now deployed. Their more extensive establishment could play an important role in maintaining the viability of many important species.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

. December 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm

The British dependency of Pitcairn (population, 65) is home to descendants of the Bounty mutineers. The idea of a reserve, promoted by the American-based Pew Charitable Trusts, is to ban fishing in 830,000 square km (320,000 square miles) of sea around Pitcairn. The immediate cost to Pitcairn’s economy would be trivial: some $30,000 in licence fees for tuna fishing forgone each year. In return the world’s smallest democracy would not only enjoy the kudos of having the world’s biggest MPA, but also hope to draw tourists. The Great Barrier Reef is reckoned to bring in about $4 billion for Australia each year.

. December 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm
. January 3, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Agenda Insight: Keep Our Oceans Alive!

As Australia moves to create the largest network of marine reserves in the world, Canada is doing very little to protect our overfished and endangered oceans. Agenda Insight Essayist Jordan Peterson makes a plea to keep our oceans alive.

. January 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

New research study: The snowball effect of overfishing

Florida State University researchers have spearheaded a major review of fisheries research that examines the domino effect that occurs when too many fish are harvested from one habitat. The loss of a major species from an ecosystem can have unintended consequences because of the connections between that species and others in the system. Moreover, these changes often occur rapidly and unexpectedly, and are difficult to reverse.

“You don’t realize how interdependent species are until it all unravels,” said Felicia Coleman, director of the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory and a co-author on the study.

Coleman and her co-authors, led by FSU biology professor Joe Travis, examined case studies of several distressed ecosystems that had been thoroughly changed over the years because of overfishing.

. February 9, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Most Marine Protected Areas Don’t Successfully Protect Marine Life, Study Says

The study, published this week in Nature, found that 59 percent of the marine protected areas (MPAs) looked at by researchers were “not ecologically distinguishable from fished sites.” MPAs are set up to protect marine life and habitat but operate under vastly different rules and regulations from region to region — some even allow seabed mining, and most allow some level of fishing. The study looked at five markers that determine the success of an MPA: how much fishing is allowed in the MPA, how well enforced that fishing rule is, the age and size of the MPA, and whether the MPA is an isolated environment or surrounded by habitat that was desirable to aquatic life but isn’t in the protected zone.

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