In honor of the start of another year of trying to motivate humankind to work together to save our oceans, Marine Conservation Institute today announced its list of “14 Things Humans Can Do to Make the Oceans More Abundant in 2014.” The world’s oceans are vital to human survival, yet they face growing challenges. The list from Marine Conservation Institute contains specific ocean issues, and geographic areas representative of those issues, that need continued attention in 2014 and beyond.
Marine Conservation Institute today announced the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES), a comprehensive science-based strategy for advancing marine protected areas worldwide. Oceans are essential to human survival and prosperity and yet human activities are pushing many critical marine species toward extinction. Marine protected areas are generally recognized as the best way to protect the diversity and abundance of the oceans’ ecosystems, yet less than 2% of the oceans’ area is now protected. Progress in establishing effective marine protected areas has been hampered by lack of agreement on protection levels needed to meet conservation goals and lack of clarity on how well existing sites are protected. GLORES (pronounced glôr-ees) will develop and manage objective criteria that incentivize and accelerate the creation of strongly protected marine areas.
Today, after a four-year process, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published final fishing regulations for the Marianas Trench, Pacific Remote Islands, and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments, which were established by President George W. Bush just before he left office in January 2009. Consistent with President Bush’s proclamations, the regulations prohibit commercial fishing within the monuments, but allow recreational and non-commercial fishing under certain guidelines. The rule takes effect on July 3, 2013.
Today two leading marine science and conservation organizations, the Marine Conservation Institute and Mission Blue, issued the 1st-ever quantitative, scientifically rigorous national ranking of states’ protection of their ocean waters. SeaStates: How Well Does Your State Protect Your Coastal Waters? shows that most states and territories are failing to safeguard our nation’s marine life, seafood and coasts.
Marine scientists from Australia and the US today called for global efforts to protect deeper coral reefs as insurance against the widespread destruction of shallow reefs and their fish populations now taking place around the world. In the well-respected climate journal, Nature Climate Change, lead author Dr. Tom Bridge from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, Dr. John Guinotte, and colleagues point out that global conservation policies have so far failed to prevent the widespread destruction of shallow coral reefs and their fish life, which now threatens the food security of millions of people. They propose that deeper coral reefs may be able to function as refuges for some coral and fish species that are threatened at shallower depths.
A New York Times Magazine article investigating the monk seal killings on Kaua‘i and Moloka‘i in 2011 and 2012 has revived attention to the conflict over the protection of this highly endangered marine mammal. In “Who Would Kill a Monk Seal?” writer Jon Mooallem, describes the complex conservation issues that plague the island of Kaua‘i, including conflict over the protection of shearwater birds and nene goose.