Last week, the marine protected area community came together for the 4th International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4) in La Serena – Coquimbo, Chile. Members of our team were there presenting two of our major marine conservation initiatives, MPAtlas.org and the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES). Our friends at OpenChannels provided IMPAC4 live-blog coverage and here are more highlights from the week:
- Marine Conservation Institute’s Russell Moffitt and Beth Pike presented on MPAtlas.org and used its data to highlight strong MPAs around the world.
- Renowned ocean conservationist and Mission Blue founder Dr. Sylvia Earle initiated a Call to Action to recognize IUCN motions urging world leaders to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030, endorse the formal negotiations towards a new High Seas Treaty establishing marine reserves in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and prioritize highly protected MPAs for providing the greatest benefits to ocean ecosystems.
- A session highlighted GLORES Platinum award-winner Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary and changes in its shark populations. Decreases in certain species may be the result of poaching and illegal fishing within the region.
- A new website, classifympas.org, aims to make classifying MPAs more straightforward. It enables users to classify any MPA based on regulations and allowed uses in those areas. They can also simulate how changes in regulations and zoning can impact an MPA’s design and protection levels. Two members of our distinguished GLORES Science Council, Emanuel Gonçalves and Bárbara Horta e Costa, are PI’s on this initiative.
- GLORES Science Council member Jon Day spoke on lessons learned from public participation in the Great Barrier Reef Management Plan from 1999 – 2003, such as using long availability sessions to reach more stakeholders, engaging the public and media throughout the entire planning process, and always using the best available science, even as it can be imperfect.
- Plenary talks covered important concepts like engaging youth in MPA management, boosting scientific cooperation and data sharing, increasing World Heritage site coverage into High Seas areas, researching climate change impacts within MPAs, and including marine ecosystem services in economic analyses to better protect the planet’s “blue heart”.
- The 5th International Marine Protected Area Congress (IMPAC5) will be held in Vancouver, Canada, in 2021.