[Coral-List] What's wrong with MPAs

Nicole Crane nicrane at cabrillo.edu
Wed Feb 26 17:10:32 EST 2014

Dennis, I realize I'm behind the eight ball here, but I just returned 
from Micronesia where internet was sketchy at best.  I think you already 
know my thoughts on much of this....sorry to be cynical here...

MPAs have been very effective where they have been effective...and for 
sure the science is unequivocal for those effective MPAs, as long as 
they remain effective... In short, there is a reason why 99% (or is it 
higher?) of the MPAs in the US are multiple use (including fishing).  So 
why then does the global agenda of SO many NGOs focus on NO TAKE MPAs, 
especially in developing countries, when we know they can't even work 
here at home?  I am not saying that they are not effective, or that they 
aren't a great tool for management (they can be both).  Just that having 
paper MPAs that are not real is counter productive.

Take a look (great case study) at the MPAs in Saudi Arabia.  There are 
over 50 (I think).  Ask the local marine biologists where they are, and 
most will not know.  All (as far as I know) are fished, even 
commercially).  Or how about the Philippines?  How many are 'real'?  
There are some that are good case studies for MPAs that work (Apo island 
is one that comes to mind, or Velondriake in Madagascar).  Maybe a good 
student project to look at what makes some successful...

I have just come back from Micronesia, where some relatively new MPAs on 
Yap are just beginning to see some 'trouble', although from surveys they 
seem to be working quite well (fish size, biomass etc.).  Funding for 
them is drying up (those sweet initial grants are now entering their 
'sustainable reserve' phase, which translates to no more $), because 
now, somehow magically, they should just work - both for the environment 
(data seem to show this) and for the people (oops, didn't really 
evaluate the long term impact on them or their culture...).

Glad you're having your students explore these.

On 2/3/14, 11:41 AM, Dennis Hubbard wrote:
> Hi all:
> My undergraduate Coral Reefs class starts tomorrow. I like to give my
> students some background so they can understand how I've come to believe
> the things I tell them in class. In addition to teaching and research at
> the old West Indies Lab, I was an environmental consultant in the US Virgin
> Islands and did a lot of early work with the Coastal Zone Management
> Program. So, I thought I'd mention that to my class and give them some
> background for the policy topics we'll be discussing in the third half of
> the course. I googled "Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management" and clicked
> on the first entry figuring that this was the most visited option.
> I encourage you to follow my web-trail below.
> First, go to:
> http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/mystate/virgin_islands.html
> This should bring up a web site for the US Virgin Islands Coastal Zone
> Management Program. Very nice, eh? All kinds of interesting facts about
> policy and management in the territory.
> OK, now click on the link for *Marine Protected Areas* (Second one under
> *Links* - about half way down the page).
> That about sums it up on that front.....
> But WAIT!!!!  Click on the back arrow or retype the original url (the one
> in RED above) into your browser if you don't have a back arrow available.
> Trust me.... it's worth it!!
> OK... now there's another promising topic under the heading *Program
> Achievements.* That just has to make up for your last disappointing
> experience, right? Go ahead....click on the link:
> *U.S. Virgin Islands Implements the Area's First Territorial Marine Park*
> All right!!!! Now that's what I'm talking about!!!...... According to their
> reckoning, this protected area includes 60 square miles of upland and
> seabed. Very nice! Wow.....I feel better about the future of coral reefs
> already!! This is great, eh? I'm sure that, like me, you want to know more.
> So, just click on the link in the first line below the title - the one
> labeled:
> *St Croix East End Marine Park*
> I think the title translates into: Buy whole, live fish here..... same day
> shipping.
> As a reef scientist, I'm relieved to know that my science is going into
> such a well-conceived management system.
> Cheers,
> Dennis

Nicole L. Crane
Cabrillo College
Division of Natural and Applied Sciences
nicrane at cabrillo.edu

Oceanic Society
Senior Conservation Scientist

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