Tuesday 5 September was dedicated to MPAs and global changes. The day started with a plenary session during which experts debated on the consequences of global changes on the conservation of our oceans and the role of oceans in climate change mitigation. Sylvia Earle, Blue Mission’s renowned oceanographer, stated that “the information we have today gives us the opportunity to apply that knowledge to change nature. We have the power to conserve our ocean, but not a lot of time to do so”. Read the full article .

Over 100 work sessions followed during the day. IISD produces a daily digest of the most important events, take a look!

On MedPAN’s side, we organised 2 events and participated in a number of other ones.

The workshop Strengthen the network and capacities of marine protected areas to manage Marine Megafauna” was well attended and gathered speakers from a variety of organisations. The objective of the workshop was to share success stories and make recommendations on how to improve the management capacity of coastal and marine protected areas and their integration in a global strategy to facilitate the preservation of marine Megafauna.

Indeed Marine Megafauna (marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks, rays and seabirds) is composed of highly mobile species, which have a key role in the ecosystem. They are considered as indicators of the health of ecosystems and are flagship species.

The importance of protected areas to maintain marine ecosystems and biodiversity is recognised at international level. However connectivity and ecological representativeness are challenging and integration with other strategies needs to be improved. This is especially true for highly mobile species, which populations’ distribution and home ranges largely exceed protected and national boundaries and which management needs to be addressed at transnational level.

There is a critical need to take a broader management view toward transboundary conservation of highly mobile species.

After an introduction by Sandra Bessudo from the Malpelo Foundation in Columbia, panel 1 focused on examples of effective and shared monitoring and management. With Anne Nelson from NOAA as a moderator, Laurent Sourbès from Zakynthos National Park (Greece) and Ahmed Ghedira (Notre Grand Bleu, Tunisia) from the audience, talked about harmonised monitoring of marine turtles by MPA managers in the Mediterranean; Lauren Wenzel from NOAA about the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Sister Sanctuary Program and Sandra Bessudo about the connectivity of sharks in the Eastern Pacific,  and Randall Arauz from Migramar on the marine research and conservation network in the Eastern Pacific.

Panel 2 went on with a focus on new initiatives and strategies. With Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara from the Tethys Institute in Greece as a moderator, Francis Staub gave an overview of the twinning project on “Marine mammals’ protection, developed within the framework of the European Commission funded project on “Cooperation with Northern and Southern Transatlantic Dimension”. This twinning project involves MPAs from Bermuda (the Marine Mammal Sanctuary), French Caribbean (Agoa), Portugal (the Azores Marine Park), and Cape-Verde; Florence Descroix-Comanducci, Executive Secretary of ACCOBAMS focused on the survey initiative and the critical Cetacean habitats, Sandrine Pivard Director of CAR-SPAW talked about Carribean projects , Susan Gallon from the French Biodiversity Agency focused on the Syn4MPA project led by the French Biodiversity Agency with several partners in the Mediterranean. Julien Semelin from the MAVA foundation concluded with an explanation of the new “threat-oriented” approach adopted by the foundation to develop its new 2016-2022 strategy to maximise short and long term results.

The recommendations of the session fed back to IMPAC4 organisation committee are as follows:

  • The management of highly mobile species by MPAs can only be done through cooperation projects and can be improved by strengthening the network of MPA managers and other stakeholders (fishermen, tourist operators, scientists…) as well as by involving local communities
  • Cooperation among MPA managers is crucial to be efficient in management of marine megafauna and can be enabled through dedicated tools to improve knowledge, data collection, monitoring harmonisation experience sharing
  • Regional networks of MPA managers are essential for young MPAs to improve their management benefiting from experience of old MPAs
  • MPA managers must be creative by identifying current resources and opportunities (including through citizen science) to get more funding; they must also prioritise their actions
  • Some donors adopt a threat-reduction approach instead of an impact evaluation when designing their strategy.

This event was organised by MedPAN together with RAMPAO, NAMPAN, CaMPAM, National Marine Park of Zakynthos (Greece), ACCOBAMS, AFB.
Take a look at the pictures on MedPAN’s Facebook page!

An interesting knowledge café took place in the afternoon focusing on fully protected areas. The objective of this exchange was to identify the main arguments that MPA managers can use to convince stakeholders and decision makers of the benefits of fully protected areas. The popularity of this session and the dynamic exchanges that took place clearly showed that the subject is indeed key. Exchanges will continue on this subject since 1 hour is obviously too short to come to conclusions… Participants included:

  • Renaud Dupuy de la Grandrive, City of Agde, France
  • Alain Barcelo, Port-Cros National Park, France
  • Laurent Sourbès, Zakynthos Marine National Park, Greece
  • Ygael Ben Ari, National Park Authority, Israel
  • Jean-François Sys, IUCN France
  • Maria José Gonzales, Marfund (Meso American Reef Fund)
  • Constance Corbier, FFEM
  • Brian Mac Sharry, UNEP/WCMC
  • Mariagrazia Graziano, European Joint Research Center, Italy
  • Rita Sahyoun, CRIOBE/CNRS, France
  • Julien Sémelin, MAVA foundation
  • Zafer Kizilkaya, Mediterranean Conservation Society, Turkey
  • Flora Artzner, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP/PROE), Samoa
  • Marie Romani, MedPAN
  • Annabelle Aish, Natural Heritage Service of the French Natural History Museum (MNHN)
  • Ahmed Ghedira, Notre Grand Bleu, Tunisia
  • Raphael Cuvelier, Prince Albert II of Monaco foundation
  • Heidi Hirsh, NOAA

Recommendations fed back to IMPAC4 are:

  • There are different kind of no-take or fully protected areas (based on time, access prohibition for various activities, size…) in the Mediterranean and the Meso American Reef in particular but all of them demonstrate an added value with reserve and spillover effect
  • Stakeholders involvement and scientific monitoring are essential when establishing and evaluating a no-take zone
  • Enforcement is crucial to ensure real benefits of fully protected areas
  • Success stories can be used and promoted towards fishermen, decision makers and other stakeholders to enable creation of new fully protected areas or to enlarge existing small ones
  • During the period of transition when establishing a fully protected area and before getting benefits, compensation can be offered to fishermen as well as alternative jobs and revenues. Moreover, banning recreational fishing and designating exclusive fishing zones for local fishermen can be solutions to get the support of fishermen when creating a no-take zone. Sometimes fishermen themselves request the creation of fully protected areas when they see the benefits in other areas.
  • In terms of communication, it’s better to speak of replenishment or resources zones rather than no-take zones or reserves
  • Communication tools could be developed on the benefits of fully protected areas with all participants from this knowledge café; this tool could be used by MPAs when trying to establish new no-take zones.

This event was organised by MedPAN with the City of Agde (France), the Mediterranean Conservation Society (Turkey), Port-Cros National Park (France) and Zakynthos National Marine Park (Greece). Take a look at the pictures on MedPAN’s Facebook page!

Other events MedPAN participated in include:

  • MPA acting on climate change: toward a global MPA network and community to fight climate change impacts.
  • Towards a transatlantic partnership of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
  • Building a learning network gathering Marine and Coastal Protected Areas managers from the regional seas of the EU
  • The automated detection of marine megafauna: remote monitoring in vast and isolated spaces

The full programme can be found here. http://www.impac4.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Tuesday-5th-ENGL-3.9.17.pdf