Showing all articles published in February 2010.
Several new studies released at this week's American Association for the Advancement of Sciences conference have found that well-designed networks of marine reserves can provide both economic and environmental benefits.
Scientists from UC Santa Barbara, Scripps Institute and Stanford University were quoted over the weekend:
Steven Gaines, Dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara said in Science Daily, "There is plenty of new evidence to show that if reserves are designed well, they can benefit both fish and fishermen,"
UC Santa Barbara’s Andrew Rassweiler said in Science News that a new southern California marine reserve network could boost fishing industry profits: “People fishing can make more money with smaller impacts on the species being fished.”
Science Magazine cited the Channel Islands and Great Barrier Reef marine reserve networks to show that protecting small areas can produce big returns. A five-year study in the Channel Island found rockfish numbers up by 50%, and their size up by 80%. And predictions of economic losses from the Great Barrier Reef protections have proven completely unfounded--the number of recreational fishing licenses has gone up since the reserves there were created.
Several of the studies emphasized the importance of community engagement in creating an effective marine reserve network. California’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) is being implemented through a participatory public process. Stanford scientist Stephen Palumbi said in the San Diego Union Tribune that the MLPA is also rooted in sound science: “There are probably 120 to 150 studies of how reserves function within their borders, and even small reserves tend to give positive results.”
Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Ed Parnell, who has proposed protections for the reef and kelp beds at south La Jolla, said: “We know what the benefit will be for the species in the reserves. They will increase in density, and they will increase in size.”
This fact sheet summarizes the new marine reserves research.
This weekend, the country’s foremost ocean experts will meet in San Diego to review the latest science on marine reserves. Ocean management is one of the key topics at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of
Sciences conference, and is also the theme of February’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences issue.
California has many long-established marine reserves, and is working now to create a science-based network through the Marine Life Protection Act.
Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography have studied reserves at La Jolla and in the Channel Islands, noting increases in the size and numbers of sheephead, abalone, and kelp bass.
The expanded protections proposed through the MLPA for key areas like south La Jolla, Swamis Reef, Point Dume, and Catalina would build on that success, helping to boost southern California’s overall ocean health.
In today’s San Diego Union Tribune, Stanford’s Steve Palumbi said California’s marine reserves will benefit anglers by boosting the size and abundance of fish in nearby open areas.
Fisheries scientist Ray Hilborn said increased abundance inside protected areas is good for tourism and for researchers.
Scripps’ Ed Parnell said that, while the design process is complex, we know that Caifornia’s new reserves will produce increases in the density and size of fish and invertebrates.
Last week CNN aired a fascinating segment on Apo Island, a tiny fishing-based community in the South Pacific islands of the Philippines. The CNN website has a page dedicated to the story, with a slideshow of striking images of the island and its people.
Years of overfishing and habitat destruction (the island is adjacent to an ecologically important coral reef, which was severely damaged) had left the waters around Apo Isand in terrible shape. Fishermen were being forced further and further out to sea in order to bring home fish, and the local economy was following the sea life’s downward spiral.
Scientists at neighboring Silliman University in Dumaguete spearheaded an effort to reverse the island's fortunes by setting up a marine reserve around the reef. Over the years, the reef and sea life recovered, and the spillover into the unprotected waters boosted fishing returns. The local economy has been steadily improving as well.
This is further evidence that we need to stay the course in California, and implement a network of science-based marine protected areas. It is the right thing to do for Californians, our ocean and the sea life that lives there.
As the north coast Marine Life Protection Act planning process ramps up, many area residents are thinking about their local ocean--and the plants and animals that live there--in a whole new way.
Marine protected areas work because, like underwater parks, they protect the whole web of undersea life. The web of life off northern California's coastline includes kelp, krill, fish, invertebrates, even birds. They're all connected.
In order to help the community understand what's at stake with the Marine Life Protection Act, COMPASS and California Ocean Science Trust are hosting a series of ocean science lectures, starting with a presentation by Dr. Karina Nielson called "What is an ocean ecosystem?"
The February 9 seminar will be held in Fort Bragg:
Who: Dr. Karina Nielsen, Sonoma State University
When: February 9, 2010
Time: 7:00 - 8:30pm
Where: St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Larsen Hall
Corner of Fir and Franklin, Fort Bragg
On February 10, Dr. Nielson will be in Bayside:
Who: Dr. Karina Nielsen, Sonoma State University
When: February 10, 2010
Time: 7:00 - 8:30pm
Where: Humboldt Area Foundation Conference Center
373 Indianola Road, Bayside
After several months of public outreach and education, the north coast Regional Stakeholder Group process--where local leaders representing a variety of industries and interests will work together to map out a network of marine protected areas that will extend from Point Arena to Oregin--is ready to begin.
The north coast Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG) includes members of the conservation, fishing, business, tribal, science, and education communities. Many of them worked together in the Tri-County Working Group to find common ground ahead of the RSG process.
The first north coast RSG meeting will be held at the Red Lion Hotel in Eureka on February 8 and 9. Click here for information about all upcoming MLPA meetings on the north coast.
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