California’s New State Parks Will Get You All Wet
A new series of marine parks creates an almost unbroken chain of protected ocean from Mexico to Oregon.
by Andrew Price
California just opened several new state parks, but you may need scuba gear to visit them. They’re underwater.
The new parks include a massive kelp forest off the coast of La Jolla, coral reefs around Catalina Island, and an underwater canyon near Malibu. In total, there are about three dozen new protected marine areas in Southern California where scuba diving, kayaking, and surfing are encouraged but fishing is either tightly restricted or prohibited altogether.
The boundaries of the parks were decided with input from thousands of stakeholders, including scientists, environmentalists, fishermen, and residents. The protected areas cover more than 350 square miles of the state’s most productive and diverse marine habitats.
These new parks, which became official on January 1st, are part of a vast network of ocean parks that was called for by the state’s 1999 Marine Life Protection Act. The first were established along California’s central coast in 2007 and 2010. The third and final section, in northern California, will be added in a year or so, completing a series of protected ocean areas that stretches from Oregon to Mexico…
Marine Protected Area proves itself in Masbate, Philippines
The Buntod Sandbar and Reef Marine Sanctuary was set up in 2OO1 much to the dismay of local fishermen who saw it as a move that deprived them of their livelihood. Dynamite fishing was prevalent, and Masbate City’s Mayor, Socrates [I’m not even joking] Tuason said that it had been hard to convince the fishermen of the fact that the long-term benefits outweighing the short term.
It’s a common issue with trying to set up MPAs in countries like the Philippines. People depend sometimes solely on the sea to live. For some, providing each meal is a struggle. It’s easy to see how the desperation for tomorrow’s dinner drowns out the [to them] unproven advantage of an MPA.
Five years later, it was proved. There was a noticeable difference and now it is reported to be one of the two top marine reserves in the country. Groupers, Yellow Fin and Albacore Tuna have returned to the sanctuary much to the delight of the fishermen who can fish in the spill-over zones. This leaves a protected breeding population untouched in the sanctuary.
Other towns in the region have taken a leaf out of Masbate’s book and set up their own marine sanctuaries. For too long marine sanctuaries haven’t gotten the attention they deserve, both from local and international communities. They have proven time and time again that they work both socially and environmentally. Managed correctly, it is sustainability itself.
The best part is our good friend Socrates has declined to open the area to commercial development because he fears that it would lead to the sanctuaries destruction. However, tourists are allowed to come and see their conservation efforts in action.
It’s an exciting time for marine conservation in the Philippines. Eyes are slowly being opened to the need and the urgency to protect the centre of marine biodiversity, and with proven results from Apo Island and now Masbate and nearby Bugsayon, I hope the whole country throws it’s weight behind MPAs.
Now all we have to do is spread the word.
Coral Sea could become world’s largest marine reserve
Author: Helen Scales
Next week, the Australian Government is expected to announce plans to protect the Coral Sea, a huge area of ocean (around 1 million square kms) between Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Conservationists are hoping the government will grasp the opportunity to fully protect this extraordinary piece of ocean and create the world’s largest ‘no-take’ marine reserve.
Here’s a TV commercial with a talking humphead wrasse, making the case for protecting the Coral Sea (I spent 4 years studying these fish for my PhD and I’m sad to say I never had a conservation with one).
Source: Sea Monster