News Archive

Wednesday 16th of November 2011
Formal advice on MCZ project's final recommendations now available on Defra website

The Science Advisory Panel (an independent body of expert marine scientists) met in mid-September and discussed the recommendations of the four regional MCZ projects (published on the 8th of September 2011). The SAP sent their formal advice to Government on 30 October 2011. The report has now been made public and is available on the Defra website.

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Wednesday 16th of November 2011
Environment Minister statement on the recommended English MCZs and Science Advisory Panel advice

To see Environment Minister Richard Benyon Written Ministerial Statement regarding the proposed MCZs please follow the link.

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Monday 27th of June 2011
Finding Sanctuary Spring 2011 Newsletter now available

Finding Sanctuary are in the final months of the MCZ project and will be submitting their final report to Natural England and the JNCC on the 31st August. Much work has gone into finalising the network from the Steering Group, Working Group and Local Groups and this spring edition of the newsletter provides details of the network in addition to articles on topics including

  • the submission of the final report;
  • a ministerial visit to Finding Sanctuary;
  • planning for the final months of the project;
  • Atlantic array co-location;
  • changes to the project team and steering group, and
  • an Atlantic arc MPA event in the southwest.

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Monday 27th of June 2011
9th International Temperate Reefs Symposium this week in Plymouth

The 9th International Temperate Reefs Symposium starts this week in Plymouth, hosted the University of Plymouth and the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. This week long conference features presentations and workshops on diverse themes including ecological theory, modelling, deep-sea reefs, climate change and restoration and management (see the conference schedule).

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Monday 27th of June 2011
Devon Maritime Forum 5th July. Valuing Our Seas - New Directions

Being held at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, this Devon Maritime Forum aims to address several key policy issues including how the National Ecosystems Assessment might influence marine management, current thoughts on ICZM and MSP in Europe, how inshore fisheries management is developing and the role of the Forum in delivering answers to some of the questions arising from such issues. A full timetable together with further details on the Devon Maritime Forum can be found on their website.

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Thursday 16th of June 2011
Public urged to name Britain's forgotten wildlife

Marine creatures stand out as Natural England and The Guardian launch a public competition to rescue unnamed British wildlife from obscurity

Now in its second year, the 'Name a species' competition, run by Natural England and The Guardian, was launched on Saturday 11 June 2011 with the aim of finding a common name for 10 unknown, but amazing, British species. Five of the 10 unnamed species are marine creatures.

A host of seemingly forgotten species exist in Britain and many are disappearing fast. Known to just a few scientists and identified only by Latin names, they lack the common touch and their decline risks going unnoticed as a result. The competition aims to rescue Britain's unnamed species from obscurity by asking the public to suggest memorable common names.

Dr Pete Brotherton, Head of Biodiversity at Natural England said: "There is a wonderful array of fascinating creatures in this year's competition, from sea spiders and sea squirts, recently discovered mushrooms and rare hoverflies. Giving English names to these species will help give them a popular identity they are crying out for."

The five marine creatures featuring in the competition's list of 10 unnamed species are:

  • Coryphella browni - a recycling sea slug
  • Nymphon gracile - an undersea spider with a straw
  • Phallusia mammillata - Britain's largest sea squirt
  • Sagartiogeton laceratus - a many tentacled anemone
  • Ophiura albida - a snaky star in the sand

Common names have been given to species throughout history. Frequently colourful and highly descriptive, these names have often been the best way for the public to become familiar with the species' characteristics and behaviour.

Dr Pete Brotherton said: "Scientific study needs the precision and discipline of Latin names, but it's difficult to fire the imagination with a name like Pachycerianthus multiplacatus - 'fireworks anemone' is much more exciting. There are some amazing forgotten gems in this competition - we want to remind people of the importance of all species, because each of them has a role to play in sustaining the health of the ecosystems upon which we depend."

The first Natural England/Guardian 'Name a species' competition was inspired by the environment writer George Monbiot. Adam Vaughan, editor of environmentguardian.co.uk, said: "We were overwhelmed by more than 3,000 entries in the competition's first year, which was a testimony to the British public's love of nature. Governments are waking up to biodiversity loss as a serious issue - last year they agreed new targets for protecting wildlife and habitats by the end of the decade. But we need the public to sustain the pressure, and giving species colourful and memorable names is a vital step in protecting them."

Anyone can enter the competition by visiting the Guardian's web site: www.guardian.co.uk/environment/series/name-a-species

The closing date and time of the competition is 12 noon on 25 June 2011. Our expert panel will judge the entries, and the winning names will be announced in a special Guardian feature on 16 July 2011.

Last year the overall winning name was the Queen's Executioner, a type of beetle that feeds on the larvae of other beetles and is found only in Windsor Great Park. Other winning names included the sea piglet and witches' whiskers.

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Wednesday 01st of June 2011
Marine and Coastal Policy Forum 2011

The UK's first Marine and Coastal Policy Forum, hosted by the Centre for Marine and Coastal Policy Research at the Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, is just over 3 weeks away (22nd-24th June). This inaugural forum aims to be an exciting and engaging event, providing a platform on which to address the key challenges facing marine policy in the UK. The forum will deal with four themes:

  • Management and Planning of Marine Resources
  • Science Policy Integration for Coastal and Marine Governance
  • Social and Economic considerations in Marine Policy
  • Marine Conservation and Ecosystem Based Management


A Special Issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Marine Policy will be published to capture the ideas presented and discussed within the Marine and Coastal Policy Forum 2011. The overall theme of the issue is 'Marine and Coastal Policy in the UK: challenges and opportunities in a new era' and will incorporate any of the topics included in the forum (see this detailed summary of the guidelines to authors).

A full programme is now available. Registration is still open. Please see the Forum website and the original article (link below) for more information.

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Wednesday 18th of May 2011
UK MPA Centre funding update

The generous support of Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Countryside Council for Wales and The Crown Estate has enabled the development and maintenance of the UK MPA Centre (UKMPAC) since its inception in 2007. Unfortunately, current Government cuts mean that we presently have no funds for the 2011/12 financial year. As a consequence, we do not have the resources to actively update and develop content for the website at present. Nevertheless, the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) has decided to continue to the host the UKMPAC and to pursue further funding. We will endeavour to update the site with new information where possible and as ever, continue to accept suggestions for news articles, references for the database etc. If you would like to talk to us about funding opportunities please get in contact.

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Tuesday 05th of April 2011
Scottish Environment LINK release SAMS report on MPA management

A Scottish Environment LINK commissioned report on the management of Marine Protected Areas, produced by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), is now available. Making the case for sound management of Marine Protected Areas details priority marine features in Scottish waters and makes recommendations about the management of MPAs set up for nature conservation, addressing several key issues including marine planning and climate change.

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Tuesday 05th of April 2011
UNEP Report on MPA governance published, including three UK MPA case studies

The new UNEP report Governing Marine Protected Areas - Getting the Balance Right is now available. The report, which considers MPAs from a governance perspective, draws upon the expertise of a group of MPA planners, managers and governance experts to analyse 20 MPA case studies from around the globe, including 3 UK examples. The study adopts a new governance analysis framework within which different incentives and governance approaches are discussed.

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Wednesday 23rd of March 2011
New European version of The Science of Marine Reserves

The European version of the Science of Marine Reserves produced by PISCO, is now available. This booklet contains "the latest scientific information about no-take marine reserves, reporting peer-reviewed research from throughout Europe and globally. " It has been produced through collaboration by scientists from a number of countries and is designed to aid scientists, marine resource managers and the public.

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Monday 21st of March 2011
Third Irish Sea Conservation Zone Progress Report now available

The latest progress report from the Irish Sea regional MCZ project gives a snapshot of the work done by the stakeholder group, and the progress made over the last year towards developing an MPA network in this region of UK waters. This is also an opportunity to voice feedback about the potential MCZs highlighted in the report by Irish Sea stakeholders for future work.

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Wednesday 16th of March 2011
Latest edition of MPA News now available

This month's MPA News contains articles on the Great Barrier Reef's "structural adjustment package" and its future implications, how MPA managers in Columbia attempt to prevent deep sea oil exploration, and high seas closures in the Western Tropical Pacific. Also in the edition are articles on the importance of small as well as large MPAs, and news of new MPA designations around Cocos Island by Costa Rica, sub-Antarctic islands by New Zealand, entire protection of Namibian coastline, and the launch of the Bermuda Sargasso Sea Alliance.

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Thursday 10th of March 2011
Cooperative management can deliver successful and sustainable fisheries

A recent global study published in Nature has shown that cooperative management can deliver successful and sustainable fisheries if strong leadership was utilised. Also essential to fisheries success was allocation of individual or community fishing quotas, strong community cohesion and having community-based protected areas. The study "offers hope that co-management, the only realistic solution for the majority of the world's fisheries, can solve many of the problems facing global fisheries".

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Thursday 10th of March 2011
Latest edition of the Fair Isle Marine Environment & Tourism (FIMETI) Newsletter now available

The FIMETI newsletter contains articles on general Fair Isle news (including updates on a proposed MPA, and the marine (Scotland) Act), local wildlife, cultural heritage and education / scientific research being performed on the island.

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Wednesday 09th of March 2011
The JNCC release 'BioScribe' tool

The JNCC have recently released a biotope decision support tool called 'Bioscribe'. The tool matches a species list from a sample to the biological communities usually recorded with potential biotope matches. It is designed primarily for end users who are experienced in matching biotopes to field survey data and to facilitate the process of identifying potential matches. The tool is part of a larger project entitled "Redefining biotopes at a regional scale". Download the tool using the link provided below.

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Friday 25th of February 2011
Lundy NTZ monitoring results published

The results of a 4 year monitoring study of the crustacean populations found within and around the Lundy NTZ have been published. The results, based on experimental potting, showed 'there was evidence of a rapid, large increase in the abundance and sizes of legal-sized lobsters within the NTZ, and evidence of spill-over of sublegal lobsters from the NTZ to adjacent areas.' There was also seen to be evidence of an increase in size of Cancer pagurus, and decrease in abundance of Necora puber. The full report is available via the link below, with supplementary result information available here.

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Monday 21st of February 2011
Scottish MPA selection guidelines finalised

Guidelines on the selection of MPAs and development of the MPA network have been finalised and released for Scottish seas. ' The guidelines include a vision and principles for the MPA network, and set out the science led approach to the selection of Nature Conservation MPAs and Demonstration & Research MPAs'.These guidelines follow new powers to designate MPAs following the Marine (Scotland) Act, and are aimed to help deliver an MPA network to meet national and international commitments by 2012.

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Monday 14th of February 2011
Improvements recommended for global MPA coverage

While a current level of 1.3 % of the globe's marine areas are protected in some form, improvements have been recommended to attain a more even and representative coverage where under-represented and vulnerable ecosystems, such as shellfish reefs and deepwater corals, are afforded better protection. The report recommends that No-take zones should be maximised, along with the effectiveness of MPA management and international cooperation. In this way ecosystem-based management principles should be applied at large scales to establish regimes based on ecological, rather than political, boundaries and aim to reach the 10 % coverage target outlined at the Convention of Biodiversity.

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Monday 14th of February 2011
Event: North Sea Marine Cluster MPA Conference, London April 7th 2011

The conference entitled 'Marine Protected Areas: Making them happen' will be hosted by the North Sea Marine Cluster and will look at how the forthcoming MPA network should be monitored and managed, to avoid downfalls experience in MPAs here and abroad, and to exchange practitioner knowledge. The conference is aimed at those with a direct interest in the proposed UK network, whether as marine users, those concerned with marine conservation or policy makers and managers. Tickets are available here.

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Thursday 10th of February 2011
Event: World conference on Marine Biodiversity, Aberdeen 26th to 30th September 2011.

The conference has the overall aim of 'bringing together scientists, practitioners and the public to discuss and advance our understanding of the issues surrounding the importance of biodiversity in the marine environment'. The talks will specifically look at: knowledge of marine biodiversity and its role in marine ecosystem functioning; assessing the most critical threats to marine systems; discussing sustainable development and socio–economic impacts on the marine sector; identifying future research priorities. Early bird price is £425. Final registration on Friday 2nd September.

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Monday 07th of February 2011
Factsheet available on fisheries management in MCZs

A factsheet is available from Natural England detailing how various measures controlling fishing within English waters will be implemented following the installation of the MCZ network. It also details the processes involved in developing measures such as creation of by-laws and regulation of the common fisheries policy.

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Thursday 03rd of February 2011
Management talks held on Dogger Bank conservation

Talks regarding the management measures that will be instigated for the Dutch region of the Dogger Bank were held last week in Holland at the third FIMPAS (Fisheries Management in MPAs) project workshop. This work looks at offshore Natura 2000 sites, and will be used to help inform similar discussions in the UK regarding SAC designation within the UK section of the bank. The Dogger Bank is a highly productive area and a key fisheries region in the North Sea, found to the east of the UK.

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Thursday 03rd of February 2011
Event: Marine and Coastal Policy Forum 2011, 22nd to 24th June

The UK's first Marine and Coastal Policy Forum, led by the Centre for Marine and Coastal Policy Research, at the Marine Institute, University of Plymouth is set to be held on the 22nd to 24th June. The forum will address the four main themes of: Science-policy integration; Marine conservation, planning and development; Ecosystem-based management in the marine environment; Management of marine resources. The fee (before 1st April) including coffee, lunches and a supper cruise around Plymouth Sound and the River Tamar is £100 (Students £75).

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Thursday 03rd of February 2011
Draft MCZ project Conservation Objective Guidance released

'The Conservation Objective Guidance (COG) sets out the process for drafting a conservation objective for the features identified within the proposed Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, requires designation orders to include the conservation objectives for the MCZ. These draft conservation objectives will be refined over the period from the initial identification of potential MCZs in 2010/11 through to their expected designation in late 2012'.

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Thursday 03rd of February 2011
Event: 9th International Temperate Reefs Symposium 2011, 26th June to 1st July

The University of Plymouth are now inviting presentations for the 9th International Temperate Reef Symposium. In addition to open sessions on all aspects of temperate reefs, the following provisional themes are being considered: propagules to production, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, management and conservation, artificial structures, contribution of reef research to general ecological theory, coldwater coral reefs, deep-sea reefs, macroecology and modelling, phylogeography and biogeography. Earlybird tickets are £300 (students £200).

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Tuesday 01st of February 2011
Latest C.O.A.S.T Newsletter now available

The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (C.O.A.S.T) have produced this month's edition of their newsletter, focussing articles on Scotland's apparent mis-management of the fisheries around Malaig and the Clyde estuary, along with commentary on the recent 'Fish Fight' campaign. There are also stories regarding Lamlash Bay NTZ, UK eco-labelling and the establishment of fish farms abroad.

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Thursday 27th of January 2011
Call for stakeholder participation in marine planning along the East coast of England

The East Offshore and East Inshore marine plan areas are the first two areas (of ten) in England to be selected for planning. Before such planning begins the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) are calling for regional stakeholders to voice their views and aspirations for the project, and get involved with the plan-making process. The views voiced from this engagement will help to inform and guide marine regulators and users from the Humber down to Felixstowe. The Deadline for responses is 21 February 2011.

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Tuesday 25th of January 2011
Two new offshore draft SACS have been formally advised to Government

An additional two reefs (Pisces reef complex in the Irish Sea, and Wight-Barfleur reef in the English Channel), have been added to the list of draft SACs formally advised to Government. This now totals three draft areas, including the large Hatton Bank area off of North-western Scotland drafted in February 2009. More details of the sites are available from the link below, along with shapefiles for all offshore sites here.

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Monday 24th of January 2011
Scottish Marine Regions Consultation Event

The Tay Estuary Forum are holding an open event as part of the Scottish Government's consultation on Scottish Marine Regions. "The Marine (Scotland) Act provides for the creation of marine regions and, ultimately, the delegation of marine planning to a local level. This will allow for local accountability and input to decision making. Scottish Marine Regions will be created through secondary legislation once the characteristics for establishing their boundaries are determined." To support the consultation process, which ends on the 18th February, participants are invited to attending the forum meeting in Dundee on Thursday the 27th January. Further details available below.

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Friday 21st of January 2011
Scientists urged to increase understanding of precisely how factors such as size and location can determine a marine protected area's effectiveness

A new paper by Agardy et al. (2011) has highlighted some of the current pit-falls in many of the world's existing MPAs, and enforces the idea that more detailed research and planning is needed for these areas to work effectively. Ultimately, MPAs that are too small, poorly positioned, poorly designed or poorly enforced can create a dangerous illusion of protection, whilst ultimately failing to do so.

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Friday 21st of January 2011
European Marine Site Risk Review now available

A Defra commissioned report by Natural England to undertake a strategic review of risks from all ongoing activities within European marine sites (EMS) is now available to view. The report was prepared in order to identify and prioritise action required to meet conservation objectives. The review indicated that overall the majority of sites were subject to medium and low risks, but a small number of activities posed a high risk to site features. Recommended actions for regulators to consider to reduce these identified risks have been outlined within the report.

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Wednesday 19th of January 2011
Finding Sanctuary Winter newsletter now available

The Finding Sanctuary winter newsletter updates on the progress of planning from the working groups, updates on stakeholder data collection and guidance on reference areas, along with useful links and upcoming events.

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Wednesday 19th of January 2011
Latest Edition of MPA News now available

The latest edition of MPA news is now available. Volume 12.4 contains articles on comparisons between methods of building MPA networks (all at once or piece by piece); perspectives on MPA enforcement via autonomous vessels; a new network launched for managers of Very Large MPAs, and other MPA news and notes.

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Thursday 23rd of December 2010
Marine Conservation Zone Projects deadline extended

The project Board in charge of the four regional marine conservation zone projects has agreed to extend the deadlines for completion and delivery of their MCZ recommendations and impact assessments to the Science Advisory Panel and the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies (JNCC and Natural England). The new final date for delivery of advice to the government to designate MCZs is now 30th November.

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Thursday 23rd of December 2010
Latest Irish Sea Conservation progress report now available

The latest edition of the Irish Sea Conservation Project news is now available. This edition describes current areas of interest within the Irish Sea region for MCZ designation, gives a guide on fishing regulations, and highlights a consultation on a proposed Marine Nature Reserve on the Isle of Man.

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Friday 10th of December 2010
New guidance provided by JNCC and Natural England on identification of reference sites in MCZ project areas.

At the request of the four regional MCZ project areas, new guidance has been created in regard to designation of 'reference sites', which are crucial as a control to assess natural change in the environment. It has been decided that "Each broad-scale habitat type and FOCI should have at least one viable reference area within each of the four regional MCZ project areas where all extraction, deposition or human-derived disturbance is removed or prevented". Definitions and specific restrictions concerning such reference sites are further detailed in the linked draft document.

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Thursday 09th of December 2010
New edition of COAST newsletter now available

The December edition of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) newsletter is now available. It contains news on the recently published baseline survey of Lamlash Bay, feedback from the recent stakeholder symposium, and updates on the No-take zone. There are also articles on the Common Fisheries Policy, recent SAC designations and marine planning, along with overseas news and information on the "fish of the month", the Haddock.

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Wednesday 01st of December 2010
Stakeholders invited to give opinions on two forthcoming East England Marine planning regions

The East Inshore and East Offshore areas are the first areas in England to be selected for marine planning. The East Inshore area includes a coastline that stretches from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe. Marine stakeholders are invited to complete a questionnaire detailing how you would like to be engaged in marine planning for the East plan areas, prior to the consultation in February 2011.

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Friday 19th of November 2010
Latest Edition of MPA News now available

The new November to December edition of MPA News contains stories and interviews on the outcome of the Nagoya Conference on Biodiversity, particularly regarding global MPA coverage. The issue also includes news on the recently designated large MPAs in the North Atlantic, Chile, and Western Australia, a study on the effects of MPAs, reef resilience to ocean acidification, and other recent MPA notes and news.

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Thursday 18th of November 2010
East Mingulay approved for Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designation

East Mingulay, south of Barra in Scotland has been approved for consultation on the case for designation of an SAC, protecting the very rare Lophelia pertusa coral reefs found in the area, as well as safeguarding other species. Furthermore, in response to a recent decline in common seal populations in Scotland, the installation of an SAC covering the whole of the Western Isles has been proposed, although currently lacks adequate research.

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Thursday 18th of November 2010
Zoological Society of London Symposium - 'Marine Protected Areas on the high seas'

A two-day symposium focussed on assessing the current progress, and barriers, towards the establishment of Marine Protected Areas, particularly in the 'high seas' regions beyond the reaches of national jurisdiction, will take place at ZSL on the 3rd to 4th February. Full registration is £130, and there is currently a call for oral and poster presentations.

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Thursday 18th of November 2010
Second Irish Sea Conservation Zone progress report now available

Potential zones for protection within the Irish Sea area have now been identified by the Regional Stakeholder Group of the Irish Sea Conservation Zones project, and the maps within the reports show the work of the Regional Stakeholder Group at various stages in the process, due to be completed by June 2011. Feedback is also welcome at this stage, and comments can be sent to info@irishseaconservation.org.uk. Please note that 'The progress reports that are available to download...are tentative. The number, size, shapes and locations of potential Marine Conservation Zones are liable to change.'

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Wednesday 27th of October 2010
New Finding Sanctuary 'Sea User activity' maps now online

Updated stakeholder activity maps, representing the aggregated activity of commercial fishing, recreational boating, sea angling, charter boats and diving in the Finding Sanctuary region, are now available to the public. These maps will be used by the Finding Sanctuary Steering Group to help inform Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) planning decisions. The group are now asking sea users to evaluate these data sets for the degree to which they represent a realistic picture of their activity, and the distribution and intensity of use across the region. More information is available from the link below.

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Tuesday 28th of September 2010
OSPAR Commission have now established six marine protected areas in the North-East Atlantic

Six marine protected areas, covering a total area of 285 000 km2 have been established by OSPAR ministers and the Portuguese government. They have been designed to protect a series of seamounts and sections of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge along with a range of vulnerable deep-sea habitats and species. This move works towards the goal of implementing representative systems of MPAs by 2012 committed to under the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

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Monday 27th of September 2010
A new short film outlining recent research on marine connectivity is now online

The final version of a short research film outlining the work done by scientists at Exeter University is now available to view. It explores connectivity in temperate invertebrates, looking specifically at the genetic connectivity and distribution of pink sea fans and dead man's fingers in the UK. This is done with the intention of better understanding the population dynamics, and so be able to better conserve them for the future.

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Wednesday 22nd of September 2010
Call for more submissions to the Marine Conservation Zone Project's research

As the four English MCZ projects' regional profiles approach their final state in June 2011, the projects are calling for more data from any marine user, whether they be a business or a recreational user. The data is to be used to ensure that all interests are represented in the planning of future MCZs, to minimize the impact on people's activities whilst still preserving vulnerable marine species and habitats. Anyone who wants to share information can either telephone their local liaison officer from their regional MCZ project, or input data on an interactive map (linked below).

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Tuesday 21st of September 2010
A new paper critiquing Fortress conservation and the recent Chagos MPA is released

The recent designation of the Chagos archipelago as the largest no-take area in the world, whilst the native population are currently appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to return to the islands, has raised a number of questions about the way the protected area was created. This paper examines the issue in light of the Convention on Biological Diversity's provisions on Access and Benefit Sharing, and looks at terrestrial examples of "Fortress conservation". It also asks whether, given the scale of the reserve, it will be appropriately managed and adequately enforced.

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Friday 17th of September 2010
Latest edition of MPA News now available

The September - October edition of 'MPA News' can now be downloaded. This issue focuses on the argument for co-management of areas by indigenous peoples to ensure both long-term conservation and human rights, and highlights previous examples related to MPAs, particularly the recent Chagos archipelago MPA designation. There are also news items relating to the new MPA designations seen in Canada and Malta, along with other marine reserve-related news and research.

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Wednesday 15th of September 2010
A series of public discussions at the Royal Geographical Society begins

The '21st Century Challenges' series of lectures and discussions aims to improve public understanding of, and engagement with, some of the big issues likely to affect our lives and society in the coming years, such as sustainability, energy consumption and natural disaster preparation. The series is aimed to help people make their own informed decisions and judgements on the most important challenges of the 21st century. The next two lectures will be on plastic pollution in the oceans, and whether the UK can ever be sustainable. The talks are held at the Society's headquarters in South Kensington, London.

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Wednesday 08th of September 2010
New criteria and methodological standards installed for good environmental status in EU member states

The European Commission has adopted a decision which outlines revisions to the established criteria for achieving good environmental status for Europe's seas under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC). The decision also includes the further development of methodological standards in close coordination with the establishment of monitoring programmes, and supports the process to revise and improve the biodiversity strategy of the EU beyond 2010 (in relation to marine ecosystems) and the Biodiversity Action Plan. The Directive, thought of as the "environmental pillar of the Integrated Maritime Policy" is addressed to EU Member states and was effective as of the 1st September.

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Monday 06th of September 2010
National marine body appoints chief scientific advisor

The head of Science for Sea and Society at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Dr Melanie Austen, has been appointed as the Chief Scientific Advisor for the Marine Management Organisation. Her role will be to "ensure the organisation has access to the latest scientific evidence to support its decision-making and operations". This role will be combined with the work she currently carries out in Plymouth.

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Tuesday 31st of August 2010
New Isle of Arran COAST newsletter released

The latest edition of the Community Of Arran Seabed Trust's monthly newsletter is now available from the link below. It contains articles on recent local and international marine news, along with interviews with fishermen, updates on the progress of the MPA, book reviews, and facts about a number of fish and other marine animals.

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Tuesday 31st of August 2010
Canada to establish a new 1,800 square kilometre Marine Protected Area in the Arctic region.

The Canadian government have announced the decision to protect one of the world's largest seasonal populations of beluga whales by establishing the 'Tarium Niryutait' Marine Protected Area. As part of the government's Integrated Northern Strategy, three individual areas called Niaqunnaq, Okeevik, and Kittigaryuit, covering approximately 1,800 square kilometres of the Mackenzie River Delta and estuary in the Beaufort Sea, will be designated.

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Thursday 26th of August 2010
Chilean Senate committee urges declaration of a large scale marine park around Salas y Gomez Island.

After an unanimous decision of the Chilean Senate's Committee on Maritime Interests, Fisheries, and Aquaculture, it has been recommended to create a marine park covering the seas up to 200 nautical miles around the south Pacific island of "Salas y Gomez". Totalling an area of around 240,000 square kilometres, this potentially makes it the second largest no-take MPA in the world after the Chagos archipelago. The area includes over 40 seamounts and is home to rare species including deep sea corals and sponges. It now awaits being given the legal status of 'Marine Park' under Chilean Fisheries Law.

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Wednesday 25th of August 2010
Consultation begins for two new possible Special Areas of Conservation

Formal consultation began on Friday concerning Lune Deep and Prawle point to Start point pSACs. The aim of the consultation is to seek the view of all interested parties on the scientific case for designated SAC status, and to assess the likely economic, environmental and social impacts of each designation. The consultation is for 12 weeks, ending the 12th of November. All responses should be sent to the corresponding Natural England regional office, details of which can be found below, along with further information on each site.

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Monday 23rd of August 2010
A marine area protected by default during the war helped to increase fish numbers

Fisheries biologists are reasonably confident that creating protected areas in the sea, in which fishing is forbidden, encourages the recovery of the sedentary species. However, they are less confident that this applies also to places where the fish of interest are migratory. Closing such places to fishing in order to find out is politically difficult, but 71 years ago politics did dictate one such closure because of the Second World War. As a consequence, a group of biologists, led by Doug Beare at the European Commission's Office of Maritime Affairs, have been looking at its effects on the population of cod, haddock and whiting in the North Sea.

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Friday 20th of August 2010
15 new marine protected areas created for Natura 2000 network

The UK Government has today submitted 15 new sites to the European Commission to be included within the European 'Natura 2000' network of protected areas designed to conserve reef, sea cave and sandbank habitats and the rich diversity of species associated with them. 13 of these new sites are candidate SACs, along with Liverpool bay and the Outer Thames estuary designated as new SPAs for bird populations. Consultations also start today for SAC designation of the Dogger bank, Lune Deep and Prawle point to Start point.

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Friday 13th of August 2010
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility launch new community site

The GBIF (an international organisation that focuses on making scientific data on biodiversity available via the Internet) have today released a new social site designed to aid communication and collaboration in the "Biodiversity Informatics Community". The site is free to use and is open to GBIF delegations, Nodes, technicians, biodiversity data publishers, and everyone interested in Biodiversity Informatics. Follow the link below to access the new site.

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Friday 06th of August 2010
Survey for Priority Marine Features starts in Canna, Scotland

A survey of the Sound of Canna (North-west Scotland) starts this week as part of the 'Scottish Marine Protected Areas Project', a joint initiative between Marine Scotland, Historic Scotland, SNH and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), and will help to inform decisions for future marine protection in Scotland. Other areas to be surveyed include Ullapool Approaches, the Clyde Sea, Rockall and Fair Isle, which current data suggest are also home to numerous priority marine features. SNH state that the findings will "provide valuable information on the status of marine priority features and will help inform our role as advisors to Government on marine conservation and development."

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Wednesday 04th of August 2010
Malta designates four new marine protected areas

The linked article gives information about four new marine protected areas which the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) has designated. The protected sites cover over 18,000 hectares and provide protection for over 80% of the Maltese Posidonia beds which not only offer shelter for various marine species but also act as a carbon sink and protect sandy beaches from sand depletion. The full article can be found on the link below.

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Wednesday 28th of July 2010
The summer issue of the Finding Sanctuary newsletter is now available

The latest newsletter from Finding Sanctuary has been released and contains articles on 'Planning progress', 'Developing a socio-economic impact assessment', latest news from Finding Sanctuary, and upcoming event dates. A copy is available from the link below.

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Thursday 22nd of July 2010
The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership launch their latest report card

This year's new report card compiled by roughly 100 scientists from 40 leading UK science organisations provides the latest updates on how climate change is affecting our coast and seas. The report includes a new regional seas climate change impacts map, highlighting important differences in climate change impacts across UK regional seas and also examines how the UKCP09 climate projections can aid our understanding of future marine climate change impacts.

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Thursday 22nd of July 2010
New Defra marine consultations now available

Several consultations have been launched this week, together with findings from previous consultations. These include consultations on Marine Policy, the Marine Planning System, and Marine Licensing along with a summary on Marine Plan Areas Consultation.

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Wednesday 21st of July 2010
Defra release Marine Policy Statement

Defra today released the Marine Policy Statement for consultataion. The Marine Policy Statement (UK) will be the first part of new system of marine planning being introduced around the UK. It will provide the high level policy context within which Marine Plans will be developed, and set the direction for marine licensing and other relevant authorisation systems.

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Wednesday 21st of July 2010
Report on the state of the UK seas now released

A new government report named 'Charting Progress 2', conducted through the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment strategy, provides key findings from UK marine research and monitoring for use by policy makers and marine stakeholders. The report is based on a robust, peer-reviewed evidence base and describes progress made since the publication of 'Charting Progress' in 2005.

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Monday 19th of July 2010
Irish Sea Conservation Zones' first progress report now available

The progress report shows ISCZ's progress towards developing their recommendations for Marine Conservation Zones, and has been submitted to the National Science Advisory Panel for the first round of MCZ planning. The group was tasked with making recommendations to the government on the location and conservation objectives of Marine Conservation Zones which fulfil certain ecological criteria within the Irish Sea region, and indentifying habitats, important marine life and natural features which need protection from anthropogenic impacts.

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Monday 19th of July 2010
The latest edition of MPA News is now available

This month's volume of MPA News has now been issued and contains main articles on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, potential impacts of oil drilling, meeting global MPA targets, and effective MPA management in Italy. There are also general notes and news items including articles on large no-take areas, MPA sizing and spacing, and how to best communicate coral bleaching events to stakeholders.

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Thursday 15th of July 2010
The first Finding Sanctuary progress report has been delivered

The progress report is a snapshot of the Finding Sanctuary Steering Group's progress towards developing their recommendations for Marine Conservation Zones, and has been submitted to the National Science Advisory Panel for the first round of MCZ planning. From the report, the advisory panel will be able to give the Steering Group feedback and advice towards meeting the requirements set out in the Ecological Network Guidance. The Steering Group will produce two further progress reports before their final recommendations are submitted in June 2011.

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Wednesday 07th of July 2010
Issue 4 of 'Netnews' now available from the Net Gain project

The latest issue of the Net Gain newsletter is now available. This issue contains information on the newly launched MCZ interactive map, including what functions it includes and how to use it. The issue also includes news on stakeholder meetings, and comments from members of the Net Gain team on their current work.

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Monday 28th of June 2010
A catalogue of features used for MCZ designation is now available

An online catalogue of the specific natural features which the new network of Marine Conservation Zones are designed to protect is now available from the Natural England webpage. The catalogue provides photos and descriptions of the species and habitats which are listed in the Ecological Network Guidance recently published by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

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Wednesday 23rd of June 2010
First Edition of the Marine Management Organisation newsletter now available

The first instalment of "Sea view", the new newsletter issued quarterly from the MMO, is now available. This issue contains information on news and events relevant to those with an interest in the marine and coastal area, along with an update from the current CEO.

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Tuesday 22nd of June 2010
The latest edition of the Marine SPA newsletter is now available

The 5th edition of the JNCC's e-newsletter regarding Marine SPAs can now be viewed. This edition outlines current potential SPAs, methods for data collection and analysis, current surveys and extensions to three existing seabird colonies. The newsletter also includes information on recent meetings and conferences relating to SPAs.

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Tuesday 22nd of June 2010
Marine planning conference to be hosted in London on July 1st

A conference on 'Marine planning - Developing best practice in marine management', will be held at the Brunei Gallery in London's School of Oriental and African Studies. The event aims to “update and share experiences with a wide range of sea users from many sectors about the recent work that has been done in UK, Europe and the World to help prepare for the new legislation to be implemented and enhance routine marine management practice”, and is sponsored by ABPmer, Cefas, HR Wallingford and the Crown Estate. It will be hosted between 9 am and 4 pm.

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Sunday 20th of June 2010
Further information now available in support of ENG recommendations

A further report has been produced by Natural England to provide advice on 'Viability'. The research uses existing literature to provide evidence on the viable area required to conserve habitats and species of conservation importance, and is produced in conjunction with several other Ecological Network Guidance reports produced by Natural England and the JNCC for the MCZ project. A new study by Rondinini & Chiozza also looks at the different methodologies available for defining percentage area targets for habitat types within protected area network design.

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Wednesday 16th of June 2010
New interactive marine map launches online

A new interactive map is launched today by the Marine Conservation Zone Project (run by Natural England and the JNCC), aimed to create an insight into how the sea is being used, and to build upon what is already known about existing marine species and habitats. Anyone who uses the sea is invited to contribute to the initiative, which will help to identify potential sites for Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). The data has been analysed and produced through a collaboration of work done by Finding Sanctuary, Balanced Seas, Irish Sea Conservation Zones and Net Gain.

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Tuesday 08th of June 2010
245 scientists from 35 countries call for the designation of a network of "Very Large Marine Reserves"

On World Oceans Day, around 245 scientists signed a statement released by the Global Ocean Legacy project, run by the Pew Environmental Group, calling for the protection of "very large marine ecosystems over five years in areas which historically have not been fished intensively, are still relatively intact and are within political jurisdictions of nations with the capability to monitor and enforce protection." This follows from the establishment of Papahanaumokuakea, the Pheonix Islands, the Marianas Islands, and the Chagos archipelago in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

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Tuesday 08th of June 2010
The Marine Conservation Zone Project release Ecological Network Guidance report

The MCZ project, led by Natural England and the JNCC have released their statutory advice on the criteria for selection of MCZs within an Ecological Network Guidance report following consultation with stakeholder groups. It is hoped that regional stakeholder groups will use this guidance to develop their recommendations, and that Government will use the recommendations as a basis for selecting MCZs for designation in 2012.

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Monday 07th of June 2010
An opportunity to take part in the CRESH project by sending in cuttlefish sightings

In spring cuttlefish migrate to shallow coastal waters to breed. By gathering information on where and when this takes place, the 'Cephalopod Recruitment from English Channel Spawning Habitats project' (CRESH) hope to greatly increase their understanding of the cuttlefish's stock dynamics and identify important spawning habitats for the enigmatic cuttlefish within the English Channel. This data can then be used to generate new recommendations for fisherman and coastal managers for a sustainable use of this English Channel resource.

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Friday 04th of June 2010
Advanced seabed map of the Dorset coastline now available

An advanced seabed map of the Dorset coastline has become the first to be freely available to the public in the UK. The 'Doris Project', a joint venture between the Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Channel Coastal Observatory and Viridor Credits Environmental Company, allows users to see bathymetry, seabed images and data recordings in the area and is incorporated within Google Earth. The data will allow important or vulnerable regions to be identified and for the public to view some of the wealth of marine biodiversity found around the UK.

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Friday 04th of June 2010
Upcoming workshop for recreational sea users on developing MCZs in the south-west

A workshop set to take place in Exeter on the 23rd of June, will give an opportunity for recreational sea users to get involved in developing Marine Conservation Zones for the south-west. Guest speakers include representatives from the Angling Trust, The Green Blue and SW Tourism. There will also be a presentation from Finding Sanctuary on stakeholder activity data collected to date.

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Wednesday 02nd of June 2010
Latest issue of the C.O.A.S.T newsletter is now available

A new issue of the Community Of Arran Seabed Trust monthly newsletter has been released. This issue contains a leading article on the Scottish 'Public right to fish', and how fisheries should be managed to maximise stocks. The issue also includes local, national and overseas fishery news, along with information on their fish of the week!

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Thursday 27th of May 2010
Support shown for the use of 'best professional judgement' to assess benthic ecosystem condition

A recent study, partly funded under the EU ECASA project1, assessed the level of agreement seen between 16 benthic experts from the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Europe and the West and East coasts of the USA to see if using best professional judgement is a viable method of comparing ecosystem condition indices. High levels of agreement were found from the experts when rating the condition of the sites and assessing levels of impact. The study therefore supports the European Water Framework Directive's suggestion to viably implement this method.

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Wednesday 26th of May 2010
Oceana urges for greater marine management and reduced bottom-trawling in the Balearic islands

Oceana, the marine conservation and advocacy organization, are preparing a sustainable fisheries project set to protect 10 to 20 % of Balearic waters from damaging fishing activity such as bottom-trawling. In response to the current review of the Balearic Fishing Law, Oceana urges reduction of trawling along the continental shelf, maintenance of high fishing fines and implementation of sustainable management practices. This incorporates a network of marine protected areas that are in line with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and IUCN resolutions.

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Tuesday 25th of May 2010
Preview of a new UNEP report on a future green economy now available

A preview of an upcoming report from the Green Economy Initiative (an advisory service set up within the United Nations Environment Programme) is now available to view. The report, entitled 'The Green Economy', covers issues from 11 different environmental sectors, with the preview containing information on water, transport and marine fisheries. The report details both the importance of marine management, such as MPAs, and the value that proper management can provide in terms of the economy and as a food resource.

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Tuesday 25th of May 2010
A new report commissioned by Natural England to assess connectivity and viability of proposed UK MCZs

The report commissioned by Natural England reviews current knowledge of adult and larval dispersal distances around UK waters to support decision making on how to maximise connectivity within a future ecologically coherent Marine Protected Area Network. Viability of suggested MPA sites is also assessed in light of the new Marine and Coastal Access Act. The information will be used by Natural England and JNCC to produce guidance for regional MCZ projects and guide stakeholders in identifying potential sites to add to the network.

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Monday 24th of May 2010
A new review assesses the environmental costs and benefits of future installations of wave energy converters

With many wave power technologies now on the verge of becoming commercially viable, a recent review conducted by a team of Swedish researchers highlights a number of ways that wave energy converters can produce ecological benefits for marine life, including creation of artificial reef no-take zones, and floating substrate for bio-fouling. Potential negative effects that are also covered include, marine bio-acoustics and disruption of electromagnetic fields used for navigation by some species. Taking examples from a Swedish project, current and future research areas are also discussed.

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Tuesday 18th of May 2010
Latest edition of the Irish Sea Conservation Zone newsletter now available

Issue 2 of the ISCZ newsletter can now be viewed, giving information on the second stakeholder meeting, recent news updates, articles from local stakeholders, and upcoming event reminders.

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Monday 17th of May 2010
Finding Sanctuary Working groups hold first planning meetings

The inshore and offshore planning groups of Finding Sanctuary (sub-sets of the Steering group tasked with carrying out detailed planning work), recently completed their first stage planning meetings. By assessing regional ecological and economic data and outputs, the teams are working to identify potential building blocks for Marine Conservation Zones. Reports from the meetings are available from the link below.

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Friday 14th of May 2010
Latest edition of the MPA News has been released

The May-June edition of MPA news is now available. It contains articles on the recently formed Chagos archipelago MPA, underwater crimes scene investigation, advice for MPA enforcement techniques, challenges to MPA establishment in the North Sea, and current MPA-related news. A copy is available from the link found below.

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Friday 14th of May 2010
Special oil spill - focussed edition of Marine science Review released

A special edition of the Marine Science Review has been released by Seaweb to deal with issues surrounding the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The edition deals with the impacts seen from oil spills on various living groups and habitats, along with previous accidents. The impacts of drilling, and future considerations are also discussed. A copy is available from the link found below.

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Wednesday 12th of May 2010
Fishing Fleet Working 17 Times Harder Than in 1880s to Make Same Catch

The UK trawl fishing fleet has to work 17 times harder to catch the same amount of fish today as it did when most of its boats were powered by sail, according to new research. Researchers from the University of York and the Marine Conservation Society used UK Government data on the amount of fish caught and the size and number of boats involved to analyse the change in fish stocks since 1889. They found that trawl fish landings peaked in 1937, 14 times higher than today, and the availability of bottom-living fish to the fleet fell by 94 per cent.

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Wednesday 12th of May 2010
New Understanding of Marine Connectivity Will Enable Better Management of Resources

New research indicates that marine life can communicate over thousands of kilometres, calling into question current fishery management and marine preservation practices. Using mathematical modeling and data from natural populations, Guichard and colleagues at Oregon State University found a phenomenon similar to the butterfly effect, whereby the actions of one individual can cause a series of chain reactions. Mussel populations communicate by actions such as releasing larvae or dying.

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Wednesday 12th of May 2010
Call for Scientists to support large, ecosystem-scale marine reserves

The Pew Environment Group has produced a statement outlining the scientific rationale for the designation of very large marine reserves. Their goal is to demonstrate to policy makers that marine scientists around the world are supportive of bolder action to designate very large marine reserves that can serve as reference sites for research and as protected arks for diminishing populations of at-risk marine species.

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Wednesday 21st of April 2010
Natural England and the Environment Agency gain new enforcement powers

The Environment Agency and Natural England are the first regulators to be given new civil powers that will give them greater flexibility to enforce environmental law, making the system more efficient and effective for both regulators and businesses. All regulators have to conduct a public consultation on their policy and guidance on how they intend to use them before they can be used. Natural England expect to launch their consultation towards the end of 2010.

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Wednesday 21st of April 2010
New report: Coastal structures change marine ecosystems

The urbanisation of coastal areas and introduction of man-made structures, such as jetties and seawalls, are changing marine environments. A new analysis highlights the impacts of these changes on marine plants and animals and suggests options to manage the detrimental effects. The study, supported by the EU's MarBEF project, summarises current knowledge on the impacts of urban infrastructure on marine habitats

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Tuesday 20th of April 2010
Changes to the Habitats Regulations from April 1

On the 1st April 2010 The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 replaced The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended) in England and Wales (and to a limited degree, Scotland). The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 is the principal means by which the Habitats Directive is transposed in England and Wales. The updated legislation consolidates all the many amendments which have been made to the Regulations since they were first made in 1994 and update some of the text. Defra have produced a useful table of the numbering of the 1994 regulations and how they now appear in the 2010 regulations.

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Thursday 15th of April 2010
European Marine Biology Symposium 2010

The 45th European Marine Biology Symposium will be held at School of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh on 23 - 27 August, 2010. Registration for this meeting is open and themed sessions include ocean acidification and climate change, marine conservation, invasive marine species, impacts of disease on marine ecology, marine renewables and marine biotechnology.

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Thursday 15th of April 2010
New report : Valuing the Marine Estate and UK Seas: An Ecosystem Services Framework

ABPmer and Economics for the Environment Consultancy (eftec) were contracted by The Crown Estate to establish a framework for valuing the Marine Estate and the activities that occur within it. A framework is proposed based around six steps: formulate the question, identify and define the ecosystem services involved, identify the spatial scale, define the baseline, identify and describe impacts and apply economic appraisal.

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Thursday 15th of April 2010
Overfishing Exacerbated by EU Fisheries Subsidies

A study by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd. and the Pew Environment Group finds that EU fisheries subsidies have failed to reduce fleet overcapacity, thus exerting fishing pressure on stocks at two to three times sustainable levels. The European Commission has identified fleet overcapacity as the principal failure of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

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Thursday 15th of April 2010
Monitoring inshore fishing activity

Seafish is leading a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) pilot study to explore ways to monitor inshore fishing activity. This work will support a range of fishing initiatives, including mapping fishing effort, supporting environmental accreditation and the design and management of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This work is funded by Defra as part of its economic and social research in the marine environment.

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Friday 09th of April 2010
The Chagos archipelago designated as largest marine protected area in the world

After a period of public consultation, the government has designated the UK territory of the Chagos archipelago, situated in the centre of the Indian Ocean as the largest marine protected area in the world. Covering an area of approximately 544,000 square kilometres, the reserve will provide full protection in the form of a no-take zone from all extractive activities including industrial fishing and mining. This region now doubles the currently global coverage of marine protected areas.

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Friday 09th of April 2010
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) launch new website

The newly established MMO, which has now taken over the responsibilities of the Marine and Fisheries Agency has launched a new website. The site provides information on UK marine planning, fisheries, environmental protection, marine works and licensing. They will also be producing a regular e-magazine called 'Sea View'.

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Friday 09th of April 2010
Latest edition of the Finding Sanctuary newsletter now available

The April edition of the Finding Sanctuary newsletter is now available from the link below. The letter contains information on how decision making has progressed within the organisation and includes the establishment of steering and working groups along with advice from the Science Advisory Panel. The newsletter also includes updates on interactive mapping and data, along with important upcoming diary dates.

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Friday 09th of April 2010
Defra publishes their new MPA strategy

Defra has now published their strategy for marine protected areas after consultation last year. The strategy describes their proposed vision and framework for marine protected areas in territorial waters adjacent to England and UK offshore waters over the next ten years. The strategy sets out how existing obligations for marine protected areas under European Directives together with MCZs under the Marine and Coastal Access Act and other designated sites will deliver an ecologically coherent network by 2012.

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Friday 26th of March 2010
Failure to protect Bluefin tuna at CITES conference

Yesterday saw the end of the 15th Conference of Parties to (UN) CITES in Doha, Quatar. However, the outcome of the proposal to ban international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna was a resounding failure at 68 votes to 20 and has been condemned by scientists and groups globally, including SEAFISH. Other proposed restrictions on trade in four shark species, including hammerhead and porbeagle, as well as red and pink corals and polar bears all also failed. The next meeting will be in 2013.

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Friday 26th of March 2010
Portuguese authorities announce the establishment of four new MPAs

The sites, situated around the southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Altair Seamount, Antialtair Seamount and Josephine Bank cover a collective area of 120,000 square km and include often neglected deepwater communities. The designations which were announced at the recent OSPAR Convention meeting in Madeira sets an example for other countries such as the UK who hold overseas territories, and are a unique collaboration between state and international bodies to protect biodiversity in High Seas waters.

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Friday 26th of March 2010
Issue 1 of JNCC Marine Conservation Zone Project released

Issue 1 of the JNCC Marine Conservation Zone project newsletter has been released and is available via the link below. The newsletter is designed to keep stakeholders up to date with work occurring on the project, and this edition gives a review of the designation process so far, introduces the advisory panel, and answers some commonly asked questions.

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Wednesday 24th of March 2010
Contact details now available for Irish Sea Conservation Zones stakeholder group

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Wednesday 24th of March 2010
Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) release their first newsletter

The community-led conservation group COAST, responsible for Scotland first NTZ, have compiled their first newsletter, summarising news and issues related to marine conservation within Scotland and abroad. To receive the newsletter, just visit the website and sign up using the link found below.

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Wednesday 24th of March 2010
Latest edition of The Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative newsletter available

The 7th newsletter from the Fair Isle Marine and Environment Initiative (FIMETI) gives news updates on marine environment issues including the Marine (Scotland) Act, local spatial management plans and SPA projects. The newsletter also includes long term trend analysis for local fish and bird populations, along with information on climate change indicator species and monitoring projects.

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Wednesday 24th of March 2010
Latest edition of SeaWeb newsletter available

The latest edition of SeaWeb's newsletter is now available and has stories concerning CoP 15 outcomes, fisheries management, and concerns for seabird populations. To receive regular updates, sign up on their website here.

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Monday 22nd of March 2010
Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to become operational on 1st April

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Hilary Benn, today announced that the MMO will become vested in April of this year. The MMO, which will subsume the current Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA), will be a UK Government "strategic marine delivery partner" and work to help deliver functions on marine planning, licensing, conservation and fisheries management under the new Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

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Friday 19th of March 2010
New issue of MPA News

The March-April issue looks at some methods of MPA enforcement and management, gives some background information to the proposed Chagos MPA, and highlights some important recent reports on the benefits and successes of a number of current marine reserves across the globe.

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Thursday 18th of March 2010
Invitation to comment on new MCZ draft Ecological Network Guidance

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England are promoting the opportunity to comment on the draft Ecological Network Guidance, which will be provided to the regional MCZ project stakeholder groups to support the identification of MCZs. A PDF copy of the document is available and explains the background to the development of the guidance and where comments can be made.

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Wednesday 17th of March 2010
First edition of the Welsh Assembly Government newsletter on MCZ implementation

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) have released the first edition of their newsletter regarding MCZ creation in Wales. The report is the first of a series of newsletters which will be detailing how the MCZs will be implemented in Wales and over what time periods. The report can be viewed in English or Welsh in the references section of the UK MPA centre website

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Monday 15th of March 2010
Huw Irranca-Davies comments on the creation of an MPA network for the UK

UK fisheries minister Huw Irranca-Davies today made a ministerial statement on the creation of a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas within the UK under the Marine Act. He comments that the planned network of Marine Conservation Zones will contribute to meeting Marine Strategic Framework Directive standards, and help to meet the criterias set under Annex V of the OSPAR convention. He hopes that through collaboration with members of the UK Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, sustainable management of the seas will be achieved now and into the future.

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Monday 15th of March 2010
275,000 people sign petition for creation of the largest MPA in the world

As the 3 month public consultation concerning the creation of the Chagos Archipelago MPA drew to a close last week, the Chagos Environment Network (a collaboration of scientific and conservation organisations from the UK and abroad) put forward a petition from members of the public calling for full protection of the 210,000 square mile region and surrounding waters. The government will now consider all the comments addressed and will make a final decision some time this spring.

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Friday 12th of March 2010
Joined up marine evidence partnership formed

The JNCC and CEFAS yesterday signed an agreement to enable cost saving and better use of joined capabilities for the benefit of the marine environment in terms of both biodiversity protection and marine nature conservation. Through greater data collection capabilities, the groups can now better support assessment of the newly implemented Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), and support the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

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Thursday 11th of March 2010
Royal Assent received for Scottish Marine Bill

The Marine (Scotland) Act yesterday received Royal Assent, meaning it has passed through both the Houses of Commons and Lords and can now become law. The long awaited Act, which will be implemented by Marine Scotland, SNH and the JNCC, will provide a framework for protecting and enhancing the Scottish marine environment, and help economic growth for areas including renewables. New powers to select and manage MPAs, enhance biodiversity and preserve historic monuments are also included within the Act and complement the provisions of the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 through devolved executive responsibility.

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Tuesday 09th of March 2010
Call for more effective policies to protect UK underwater heritage

With the introduction of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, Lord Howarth of Newport calls for the Marine Management Organisation to introduce the same protection measures afforded to wrecks found within the 12 nm territorial water limit (under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973), to be extended throughout the 200 nm EEZ limit. Through this he hopes to prevent damage to wrecks from commercial activities including wind farm installation and mineral extraction.

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Tuesday 09th of March 2010
Support for regional level fishing quota management

Jim Portus, Chief Executive Officer of the South Western Fish Producer's Organisation (SWFPO) supports the recent MEP vote in favour of reforming the current European Fishing policy to allow existing fishery regulatory bodies to decide upon local quota limits. He calls for national government, scientists and local fishermen to agree regional level quotas and put an end to the current level of unnecessary discard. SEAFISH also welcomes the move.

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Friday 26th of February 2010
New fishing coalition for MPAs

The Fishing Coalition for Marine Protected Areas has been formed and includes much of the UK's fishing industry. The alliance will provide vital recommendations to Government and conservation organisations involved in the development of an MPA network. Both JNCC and Natural England have welcomed the formation of the coalition, which will provide a unified voice of collaboration between the industry and MPA developers.

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Friday 26th of February 2010
Surveys of South Wight

Natural England and their partners are beginning a survey of the south coast of the Isle of Wight, an important SAC. The habitat mapping survey will provide scientists with a better understanding of marine communities in tide-swept areas.

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Tuesday 23rd of February 2010
Seminar on Marine and Coastal Access Act

A Marine Act seminar is being held in Exeter at Sandy Park on March 30th. The meeting will discuss the implications of the Act for those involved in managing or developing the marine and coastal environment. The schedule includes speakers from Natural England, Devon Wildlife Trust, the Marine Management Organisation and Royal Haskoning. Registration is due by March 22nd and costs £50 + VAT.

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Tuesday 23rd of February 2010
Conference on Ecosystem Services

The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management is holding a conference on Ecosystem Services in London at Hamilton House on March 24th. Marine as well as terrestrial topics will be discussed and the programme includes speakers from Defra, Natural England and Plymouth Marine Lab. Registration may be made here.

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Tuesday 23rd of February 2010
New research on effectively reducing fish discards

New research published in the Journal of Environmental Management examines the factors determining the success of pilot projects aimed at reducing fish discards in European fisheries. The seven most important factors are identified, showing how regulators can most effectively cut wasteful fish discards at sea.

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Friday 19th of February 2010
Gone before we know it?

Dr. Jason Hall-Spencer of the University of Plymouth has shown that some of the most threatened ecosystems may be those that we don't even know about. Although less than 1% of the worlds seamounts have been surveyed or studied, ocean acidification and deep-water bottom trawling continue to place many of them at risk. Jason's work will be presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in San Diego this week.

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Thursday 18th of February 2010
Coalitions to represent fishermen in new MCZ process

Fishermen in the Scottish Fishermens Federation and the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) want to ensure balance in the creation of new MCZs under the Marine Act and other MPAs under the Natura 2000 EU agreement. The industry states that they are not opposing new MPAs, but wish to ensure that the implications of reductions in access to fishing grounds are properly considered by policy makers.

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Thursday 18th of February 2010
MPAs help coral reefs survive and recover

A new study from the USA of 37 years of survey data finds that coral cover remains constant and even increases in protected areas, compared to declining cover in unprotected regions. Protected and unprotected areas were compared in over 4000 reefs from 83 countries. The paper follows the previous findings of Prof. Peter Mumby at the University of Exeter, whose 2009 study shows negative impacts on coral reef health due to lack of protection of herbivorous reef fish.

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Wednesday 17th of February 2010
Scallop dredging restricted in Wales

A new Welsh Assembly Government Order places spatial and technical restrictions on scallop fishing in Welsh waters and prohibits dredging altogether in several areas. Except for part of Cardigan Bay SAC, all Welsh SACs will remain closed to scallop dredging until further habitat surveys are performed. See here for another news report on the scallop restrictions.

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Wednesday 17th of February 2010
New Defra webpage on MCZ Science Advisory Panel

A webpage on the independent Science Advisory Panel (SAP) and their activities with respect to the creation of new Marine Conservation Zones has been created by Defra. The SAP site includes a document on the MCZ selection process, as well as the minutes of the most recent SAP meeting. There is also a short bio on each of the SAP members.

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Wednesday 10th of February 2010
Scottish Marine Bill is passed

The Marine (Scotland) Bill has been passed by Members of the Scottish Parliament. The bill contains provisions for simpler licensing and gives new powers for the selection and management of MPAs. In particular, seals and Scottish waters out to 200 nautical miles will receive improved protection under the bill. A motion for final approval of the bill and submission for Royal Assent could be made in under a month, depending on the number of references and orders made in the post-Stage 3 phase.

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Wednesday 10th of February 2010
Consultation on new MPAs nears completion

The formal consultation by JNCC, Natural England and CCW on 12 new Natura 2000 MPAs will end on February 26th. Included are 10 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and 2 Special Areas of Conservation (SPAs) in English and Welsh waters, including the North-West Rockall Bank offshore site, Liverpool Bay and the Poole Bay to Lyme Bay Reefs area. Formal comments on inshore sites can be directed to Natural England and those on offshore sites can be sent to JNCC.

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Wednesday 10th of February 2010
91% of European fish stocks may be unsustainable by 2015

A new study finds that if current trends continue, less than 10% of Europe's fisheries will be sustainable by 2015, breaching legal obligations under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Halting fishing activities now would still result in 22% of the fisheries remaining depleted until 2045.

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Thursday 04th of February 2010
Government releases new 15-year strategy for marine science

The Government has published its UK Marine Science Strategy- a mandate on sustainable use of the seas and managing climate change. The document describes coordination of devolved UK governments in providing a direction for future marine science. Understanding of marine ecosystems, responding to climate change and sustainable ecosystem uses and benefits are outlined as the three highest priorities.

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Thursday 04th of February 2010
Ocean stewardship forum in Southampton, 26-28 May

The National Oceanography Centre in Southampton will again host the 3rd annual International Ocean Stewardship Forum. The forum seeks to faciliate the integration of marine science, policy and law within ocean governance and thereby develop a sustainable operational strategy for marine policy. Please visit the IOSF website to register and to get more details. Only 100 registrants will be accepted.

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Thursday 04th of February 2010
Oceans 2025 Annual Science Meeting in Plymouth, 11-13 May

Oceans 2025 is a program that brings marine scientists together to improve public understanding and engagement in the marine environment. It improves knowledge of the changing seas and assesses their societal and ecological impacts at present and in the future. The annual Oceans 2025 science meeting, to be held at the Holiday Inn, Plymouth, will discuss the translation of science into policy, stakeholder involvement and how technological developments should be integrated. Interested persons can register here.

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Monday 18th of January 2010
Introduction of Northern Ireland marine bill a year away

While the recent introduction of England and Wales's Marine and Coastal Access Act has led to designation of the first Marine Conservation Zone, the devolved administration of Northern Ireland is still a year away from introducing their own version to the assembly. The Northern Ireland Marine Task Force, a collection of eight NGOs, fears that Northern Ireland is not working quickly enough to select and designate an ecologically coherent network of MPAs. Although Strangford Lough is already a Marine Nature Reserve, the taskforce has identified at least 13 other areas in need of protection in Northern Irish seas.

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Monday 18th of January 2010
Chagos MPA meeting boycotted by Mauritius

Although plans are underway by the UK's foreign office to create the world's largest MPA in the Chagos archipelago, some scientists are concerned over the lack of involvement of the exiled Chagos islanders and their Mauritian government. The government of Mauritius has boycotted a recent planning meeting in England after Prime Minister Gordon Brown failed to organize a bilateral discussion at that meeting, despite committing to doing so at the Commonwealth summit in November. Designation of the MPA does not preclude re-settlement of the Chagosians and debate continues as to whether the islanders, if allowed to return, should play a role in monitoring the pristine marine ecology of the region and whether they should be allowed to resume their fishing rights in the area.

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Friday 15th of January 2010
New issue of MPA News

The January-February issue examines the evidence behind MPAs acting as sources for nearby fisheries, the effects and alternatives of seismic surveying methods in MPAs and provides a list of climate change-related resources as a follow up to the Copenhagen meeting.

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Thursday 14th of January 2010
Finding Sanctuary hosts drop-in days in Plymouth and Falmouth (and elsewhere!)

Finding Sanctuary is inviting anyone in Plymouth and Falmouth who uses the sea for work or pleasure to share their knowledge and experience during their drop-in days. The information gathered from the public will be used to map the useage of the waters in the southwest and will provide useful data in the planning of new Marine Conservation Zones for 2012. Finding Sanctuary will be at Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth from 10am to 8pm on January 19th and at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth from 10am to 8pm on January 27th. Information on the new MCZs will be available. Plans to hold days in Bude, Bideford, Poole and Bristol are also underway.

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Thursday 14th of January 2010
Crown Estate announces offshore wind development partners

Nine offshore zones will be developed for wind turbine development and the Crown Estate has announced the successful Round 3 bidders for each of them. The Round 3 generation aims to produce one-quarter of the UK's electricity needs by 2020. The nine zones include offshore regions of the Moray Firth, the Firth of Forth, Dogger Bank, Hornsea, Norfolk Bank, Hastings, western Isle of Wight, the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea.

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Tuesday 12th of January 2010
Lundy Island becomes UK's first Marine Conservation Zone

Natural England announced today that Lundy Island, situated in the mouth of the Bristol Channel, has been designated as the UK's first MCZ under the Marine and Coastal Access Act. Because of the impressive diversity of marine wildlife and associated habitats that surround the island, Lundy had previously been designated as both a Marine Nature Reserve (MNR) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Its MCZ status replaces the former MNR designation under the Marine Act.

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Tuesday 12th of January 2010
Devon trawlers reduce juvenile fish discards by >50%

A project, termed Project 50%, led by CEFAS has succesfully reduced the number of juvenile fish discarded by the Devon trawler fishery by 57%. Working in partnership with local fishermen, CEFAS scientists reduced discards by increasing mesh sizes to allow juveniles to escape nets. The reduced weight of nets provide the added benefit of reduced net drag and fuel consumption of trawler vessels. CEFAS has stressed that the key to success in this project was an understanding of the lives and attitudes of trawlermen, allowing development of the improvements in collaboration with fishermen.

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Monday 11th of January 2010
London conference on coastal futures

An upcoming meeting on the future of coastal management and planning will discuss the effects of climate change, renewable energy development, fisheries, MPA creation and Marine Act policies on coastal environments. Among the scheduled talks is an opening address to be delivered by the Government's Minister for Marine & Natural Environment. The conference is sponsored by Natural England, JNCC, the Crown Estate and WWF (among others) and will take place in London at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre on the 20th and 21st of January.

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Tuesday 05th of January 2010
MPAs needed to protect endangered whales from whale-watchers

A new paper, published in the journal Animal Conservation, finds that certain whale species are prone to disturbance from commercial whale-watching activity. They suggest that even small MPAs in feeding areas could mitigate this effect. Models of inshore whale activity were used to determine optimal MPA sizes, which were predicted to increase the occurrence of feeding whales by over 250%. The study was co-authored by researchers from Scotland, Canada and the U.S.A.

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Tuesday 05th of January 2010
Net Gain hits the road

Next week sees the start of a two week programme of roadshow events to be hosted by Net Gain: The North Sea Marine Conservation Zones Project. The project team, based in Hull, hopes that the roadshow will mark the beginning of a strong working relationship with as many sea users and interest groups as possible throughout the Net Gain project area, which runs from the Scottish border in the north to Felixstowe in the south. To find out when the project team might be coming to a place near you, follow the link to teh Net Gain Website.

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Monday 14th of December 2009
Two new Welsh SACs complete consultation

The Dee and Severn Estuaries have completed a long consultation process, beginning in 1995, and have become active Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). Together, they represent an addition of about 88,000 hectares to Wales' total EU-designated MPA area. The new designation means improved legal protection for the two estuaries, although management and protection measures will not necessarily be changed. The Dee Estuary has also been designated as a RAMSAR site under the international wetlands convention.

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Monday 14th of December 2009
Climate change impacts on oceans discussed in Copenhagen

The UN climate conference will dedicate a day to climate change impacts on oceans and coastlines. Among the issues to be discussed are acidification and rises in sea level that will have wide-ranging effects on marine ecosystems. For more information on specific topics, see the schedule for December 14th.

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Friday 11th of December 2009
Oceans store carbon... but at what cost?

A joint Natural England-IUCN report stresses the importance of marine ecosystems in natural carbon capture and CO2 reduction. Seagrass meadows, salt marshes and mangroves have a greater capacity for carbon storage than land-based sinks, such as forests, but over half of them have been lost due to human activity. To complicate matters, unchecked rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere and ocean have adverse effects on these and other ecosytems. Increased levels of CO2 in seawater has lead to increased acidification, which affects the growth and survival of calcifying organisms and habitats, such as reefs, oyster beds and calcareous plankton.

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Tuesday 08th of December 2009
Webinar on developing High Seas MPAs- December 16

MPA News and the EBM Tools Network are hosting an online seminar on strategies and technologies that are useful for the development of high seas MPAs. Three speakers are scheduled and questions can be submitted to them ahead of time by email. Registration is free and transcripts will be available afterwards for those unable to attend. The 90 minute webinar will begin at 16:00 GMT on December 16th.

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Tuesday 01st of December 2009
Defra, JNCC and Natural England annouce membership of the MPA Science Advisory Panel

The Science Advisory Panel is an independent body established to support the four regional projects involved in the MCZ selection process (Finding Sanctuary, Balanced Seas, Irish Sea Conservation Zones and Net Gain ) by offering objective scientific assessment of site proposals, and independent advice to Ministers. The panel, chaired by Dr Peter Ryder, consists of experts from a number of marine scientific fields.

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Monday 30th of November 2009
WWF Marine Health Check Update 2009

In the 2009 Marine Health Check Update WWF examine six of the flagship species and habitats covered in their 2005 Marine Health Check Report providing a snapshot of how they are faring. The report (produced by MarLIN) welcomes the Marine and Coastal Access Act as an opportunity to develop a number of tools for protecting and aiding recovery of marine life around our shores and make a positive contribution to securing healthy and productive seas.

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Friday 27th of November 2009
Formal consultation starts on proposed European marine sites

A formal consultation on proposed new marine protected areas starts today (27 Nov 2009). The sites are being put forward as the latest additions to the 'Natura 2000' network of European protected areas designed to protect important habitats, species and birds. The consultation provides an opportunity for interested groups to make formal comments on the proposed sites to help refine the evidence base and enable a fuller understanding of the likely impacts of site designation on marine user groups.

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Monday 23rd of November 2009
Scottish Parliament debates effectiveness of Lamlash Bay No-Take Zone

The Scottish Green party's Patrick Harvie raised concerns on Nov.12th over whether the No-Take Zone on the Isle of Arran was effective, citing reports that dredging in the area was occurring. In addition to ensuring relevant officials are aware of this activity, the Scottish National Party's Richard Lochhead has responded by praising the work of COAST and reiterated that existing legislation prohibits such activities.

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Wednesday 18th of November 2009
Coastal carbon sink ecosystems in danger

A new report commissioned by Natural England, the Lighthouse Foundation and UNEP finds that coastal marine ecosystems are under serious threat from development and rising sea levels. The report outlines how these systems provide the benefit of sequestering carbon and how they are declining at rates comparable to the Amazon rainforest.

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Wednesday 18th of November 2009
Setting maximum sustainable yields in a changing environment

Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) represents the largest sustainable catch possible of a single fish species, ignoring interactions with other species and assuming a constant environment. However, new research finds that MSY is also applicable to multiple stocks and is valid over periods of environmental change. It finds that MSY is achievable for cod, haddock, saithe, plaice and sole if fishing rates are reduced to late 1960s levels and would ensure greater yields using fewer resources.

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Tuesday 17th of November 2009
Marine Bill receives Royal Assent and becomes an Act

The Marine and Coastal Access Bill received Royal Assent on November 12th, thus coming into law as the Marine and Coastal Access Act. The Act is the first of its kind in the world and was hailed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown as "...a new framework for managing the demands we put on our seas...". In a series of press releases, the four regional stakeholder projects Finding Sanctuary, Irish Sea Conservation Zones, Net Gain and Balanced Seas have lauded the Act, which contains provisions for their establishment as Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). More information on the Marine and Coastal Access Act can be found on the DEFRA website, including a series of maps that explains how the different areas of the UK's seas and the activities in them will be managed.

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Tuesday 17th of November 2009
Public identifies 73 sites for marine reserve consideration

An initiative by the Marine Conservation Society and the Co-operative Group engages divers in the marine reserve designation process by allowing them to nominate and vote for sites that they feel are in need of protection. So far, 73 sites across the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands have been identified, which would expand the current 6 km² of marine reserves to 212 km². You can nominate and vote for sites of interest to you by visiting the MCS Your Seas Your Voice website.

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Tuesday 17th of November 2009
New issue of MPA News available

The new issue of MPA News discusses the effects of increased noise on marine life and how MPA managers can mitigate its effects, conflicts between invasive scientific research and conservation in understanding and protecting MPAs, and new initiatives by the IUCN and partners to develop MPAs in open ocean, high seas areas.

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Wednesday 11th of November 2009
Britain's new MPA will protect penguins!

You read it correctly- a new 94,000 km² Marine Protected Area will come into effect in May 2010 extending southwards from the Orkney Islands- the South Orkneys, that is! The islands sit at the north end of the Weddell Sea, near Antarctica and their waters are habitat for Antarctic krill and Adélie penguins. The area, which is roughly four-times the size of Wales, is the world's first high-seas MPA.

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Tuesday 10th of November 2009
Impending enactment of England's Marine and Coastal Access Bill!

The Marine and Coastal Access Bill is undergoing final approval in the House of Lords on November 11th and may receive Royal Assent as soon as the 11th or 12th, thus becoming law. The Scottish Marine Bill is currently undergoing stage 2 consideration in Scotland's Parliament, having passed stage 1 on 29th October.

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Tuesday 10th of November 2009
New fee schedule for MPA conference Sea Change: securing a future for Europe's seas

Natural England have amended the fees for their upcoming MPA conference in London on December 8th and 9th. The new rates include reductions for charities and students and those not requiring accomodation during the event. There is also a new single-day rate of £155 or £200 including the conference dinner.

The meeting promotes the exchange of ideas between European countries and will develop partnerships among member states. Delegates are invited from the fields of marine management, policy making, conservation, science, NGOs, industry, the voluntary sector and Government.

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Monday 09th of November 2009
New partnership plans large-scale study of Scottish seas

The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) brings together eight Scottish universities in a £4.7M project that will study Scottish seas. Approximately 700 researchers will be involved and nine research themes are proposed, including fisheries research, coastal zone management and biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

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Sunday 08th of November 2009
New environmental damage and liability regulations for the UK

New regulations concerning the liability and remediation of environmental damage have been brought into effect for each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Taking effect last March, the regulations apply to businesses, charities and public sectors engaging in 'economic activities' but will not cover purely domestic or recreational activities. The Marine and Fisheries Agency will be responsible for enforcing regulations concerning biodiversity at sea, and the Environment Agency, Natural England and local authorities will cover other regions.

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Friday 30th of October 2009
Recovering the world's marine ecosystems

A new paper published in Science examines some of the most-studied of the world's fisheries and finds that over 60% of them need to be rebuilt. Although much success in managing and recovering stocks has been seen in certain areas (e.g. Kenya), rebuilding others may take decades and requires traditional, community-based efforts in combination with closures, gear restrictions and zoning of separate management areas for fishing and for conservation.

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Thursday 29th of October 2009
Impending collapse of bluefin tuna in NE Atlantic and Med

A recent study by American and Danish researchers, published in Conservation Letters, warns that management plans by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) will legally allow the entire adult bluefin population to be caught in years leading up to 2011. The paper warns that overfishing combined with an inability to cope with poor reproductive years will result in a 90% decline in adult biomass within three generations.

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Wednesday 28th of October 2009
Latest Marine Bill policy paper

DEFRA has released a new paper on the policies of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. The document outlines changes since the last draft of the bill (April 3rd, 2008) and discusses the eleven sections of the bill, including marine planning, licensing, fisheries legislation, enforcement and coastal access.

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Wednesday 28th of October 2009
The role of fishermen in MPA design and acheiving sustainable fisheries

A BBC editorial by Phil MacMullen of SeaFish discusses the importance and challenges of marine spatial planning for MPA design in acheiving sustainable fisheries. He identifies fishermen as an essential part of the management process and that each MPA site should be identified based on its human, as well as ecological, characteristics. Fishermen can provide first-hand information on site features for monitoring and research and often comply with restricted and closed areas on a voluntary basis. He argues "Fishermen have been an easy target for much that is wrong with the marine environment today but that's not fair. The industry has changed and we all need to look further ahead to some much more fundamental problems."

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Monday 26th of October 2009
International Conference on MPAs scheduled for December 8-9

An international conference on MPAs, 'Sea change: securing a future for Europe's seas', is scheduled for December 8 & 9 in London. The meeting promotes the exchange of ideas between European countries and will develop partnerships among member states. Delegates are invited from the fields of marine management, policy making, conservation, science, NGOs, industry, the voluntary sector and Government.

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Thursday 22nd of October 2009
German conference on progress in marine conservation- Nov 2-6

The 2nd International Conference on Progress in Marine Conservation in Europe is scheduled to be held November 2-6 in Stralsund, Germany. The discussion of current marine nature conservation will be directed at 250 attendees, including policy makers, conservation managers, scientists and inter- and non-governmental organizations. The conference is hosted by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the German Oceanographic Museum.

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Monday 19th of October 2009
Ocean health- conserving our natural carbon capture systems

UNEP has released a report on the importance of healthy marine ecosystems, which absorb large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. While many industrial businesses focus on developing artificial carbon capture and storage (CCS) methods, paying developing countries to conserve and enhance natural marine CSS ecosystems may be more cost effective, as their carbon mitigation abilities have been researched.

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Monday 19th of October 2009
Natural England proposes new SACs and SPAs

Natural England, JNCC and CCW have proposed new Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Areas (SPA) as part of the UK's committment to the Natura 2000 goal. Natural England has proposed 8 draft SACs and 2 potential SPAs in English inshore waters. JNCC is proposing further sites offshore and CCW is proposing sites in Welsh inshore waters.

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Wednesday 14th of October 2009
Will the Scottish Marine Bill do enough?

An independent report has been released by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (through Scottish Environment LINK), which questions whether the Scottish Marine Bill will be able to reverse the decline in populations of several species, including cod, herring, maerl and native oysters. Through a series of case studies, the report emphasises the need for marine policy that does more than just maintaining stocks at depleted levels.

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Wednesday 14th of October 2009
Identifying global land-sea priority areas for coastal marine conservation

A new paper in the journal Conservation Letters quantifies land-based impacts on world-wide coastal marine ecosystems. The three most-threatened areas were identified as estuaries of the Mississippi in the US, the Ganges in India and the Mekong in Vietnam. The study also finds that 95% of continental shelf regions and 40% of coastlines globally experience little or no land-based human impacts.

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Monday 12th of October 2009
New document on Scottish Marine Bill

The Scottish Government has released a booklet on the Scottish Marine Bill, which was introduced to Scottish Parliament earlier this year. The document outlines what the Bill will do for marine conservation and planning and the work underway in the planning process. The path by which new Marine Protected Areas will be created and proposed licensing systems for marine industry are also outlined.

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Monday 05th of October 2009
Web-based seminar More Lessons from MPA Networking Programs- October 19th

A live 'webinar' will be hosted by MPA News and EBM Tools Network on the results of networking programs in Mediterranean rocky reef MPAs and the US Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The 90-minute program will begin at 1500 GMT on October 19. Registration is free and questions for speakers may be emailed ahead of time or posed live during the event. Either a computer with speakers/microphone or a telephone may be used to participate.

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Monday 05th of October 2009
Conference on Climate Change and Marine Biodiversity- Nov. 5th

The Exeter Met Office is hosting a free one-day meeting on November 5th to support the mitigation of climate change impact on marine, coastal and estuarine biodiversity. By sharing current scientific findings of impact effects on South West ecosystems, the conference seeks to promote adaptation in the future actions of practitioners. More information can be found in their flyer and on the registration site.

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Monday 05th of October 2009
Suffolk conference on past, present and future of Protected Areas- Nov. 10-12

The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management is holding a conference on terrestrial, freshwater and marine protected areas in Suffolk from November 10-12. Aside from scheduled talks, field excursions are planned to a variety of local protected areas, including the Norfolk Coast. Attendees may register online.

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Monday 28th of September 2009
MPAs get better with age!

A new study in the Journal of Applied Ecology finds that, in 32 marine reserves around the world, fish density increases by approximately 5% per year of their life. In particular, the research suggests that MPAs will be most effective after 15 years of age. Although younger MPAs may, in some cases, appear to be ineffective, the research indicates they should be maintained for at least this long to allow them to 'mature' to an effective state.

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Wednesday 16th of September 2009
Latest issue of MPA News out now

The September issue of MPA News addresses the need for high-seas protection of deep sea habitats and suggests that when baseline data is incomplete, it is better to err on the side of conserving too much. The newsletter also discusses the benefits of applying art to marine conservaton, as well as a number of international MPA projects currently underway.

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Wednesday 16th of September 2009
New model predicts distribution of priority European habitats for Natura 2000

A team of Dutch and Swiss researchers has produced a model which predicts the extent of 27 protected European habitats. Although the Natura 2000 initiative intends to create conservation measures for these and other habitats, their distribution has been largely unknown. Ground-truthing of the model suggests that it will be an invaluable tool in creating the network of pan-European protected areas.

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Wednesday 16th of September 2009
Finding Sanctuary announces regional steering group for south west MCZ project

A steering group of 39 representatives, each from key south west marine sectors, has been formed by Finding Sanctuary to help plan Marine Conservation Zones off the Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset coasts. Each county will be represented by a MCZ subgroup, which will provide advice and feedback to the Finding Sanctuary Steering Group. In this way, local input may be passed on for consideration when siting regional MCZs. For information on the recently-created Devon MCZ group, see the link below.

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Monday 14th of September 2009
Survey illustrates conscience over cost in consumer fish choices

Natural England has released a survey and a report, which summarize the importance of seafood in UK consumer diets and the resulting pressure placed on our fisheries. Of particular note is the report's finding that almost one-third of the North Sea catch is discarded annually. However, the survey finds 90% of consumers more likely to purchase seafood labelled as 'environmentally responsible' and 75% willing to pay more for it. According to the Chief Executive of Natural England, "Overfishing is one of the most significant environmental issues we face and it is clear from our research that the public are increasingly aware of the problems - and are willing to help address them."

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Monday 14th of September 2009
Updated Moray Firth SAC management scheme protects bottlenose dolphins

The Moray Firth SAC Management Group has updated their management scheme to better-protect bottlenose dolphins, which are the most northerly population in the world. The new measures protect the SAC (and the dolphins within it) from oil and renewable energy developments, boat traffic, coastal development, dredging, aquaculture, non-native species and military activities.

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Tuesday 08th of September 2009
New south west SACs lauded by conservationists but questioned by fishermen

Four coastal regions in the area from Poole Bay through Lyme Bay and Torbay to the South Hams are currently under consideration by Natural England as marine Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). Informal consultations with stakeholders have brought forth concerns by local inshore fishermen, who fear that their livelihood may be impacted. But conservationists worry that years of damaging fishing practises are taking their toll on reefs and better management will protect fisheries and those who depend on them. Citing the improvement of scallop beds following their closure in Lyme Bay last year, Natural England believes better management will also allow degraded reefs and seabeds to recover from dredging and trawling activities. Local councils and the Wildlife Trusts hope that the SACs will also draw recreational interest and tourism in the areas.

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Monday 24th of August 2009
U.S. seismic tests given go-ahead in Canada's first MPA

Despite injunction attempts by Ecojustice, the Living Oceans Society and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Canadian Government has granted permission for a U.S. research vessel to conduct seismic tests within the Endeavor Hydrothermal Vents area- Canada's first MPA. The region is a known Blue and Fin Whale habitat and concerns have been raised over the impacts of the tests on these endangered mammals. The seismic testing involves the production of hundreds of sonic blasts, each one exceeding a jet engine in volume, which will provide a data on the vent's geology. Critics are worried that the testing will deafen and disturb the whales, which have only recently begun to return to the MPA. Ecojustice is seeking a halt to the research on the grounds that Canadian law prohibits harassment of marine mammals and thus cannot grant permission to foreign vessels to do so. (Also, see local news articles here and here)

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Monday 24th of August 2009
Annual beach clean-up planned for September!

The Marine Conservation Society's annual beach clean-up and litter survey is scheduled to take place on the 19th and 20th of September. Beachwatch Big Weekend is a national event that occurs every year and encourages the public to participate in the cleanup and survey efforts either on land or, for those keen on SCUBA, in the water. The campaign seeks to reduce litter on UK beaches and neighboring seas and coincides with the annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) event.

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Tuesday 18th of August 2009
Defra releases Marine Bill newsletter

The Marine and Coastal Access Bill Newsletter outlines the recent progress of the bill in the House of Commons Committee and upcoming progression towards Royal Assent. The newsletter also discusses the role of new MCZs and existing SACs and SPAs under the Marine Bill. Marine licensing, coastal access and the Scottish Marine Bill are also mentioned.

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Tuesday 18th of August 2009
Web-based seminar on MPA networking programs

MPA News and EBM Tools Network are hosting a free web-based seminar on lessons learned from MPA networking programs in West Hawai'i and in Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The 'webinar' begins August 27th at 2200 GMT and will last 90 minutes, with opportunities for participants to pose questions or comments by computer or telephone.

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Monday 03rd of August 2009
Five new cold water coral reefs found in pristine condition in UK survey

A recent four-week survey commissioned by JNCC has discovered new cold-water coral reefs teeming with life at Anton Dohrn Seamount (an extinct volcano), Rockall Bank and 3 other sites. Each was found to contain a variety of fish, hard coral, sponges, brittlestars, featherstars and sea fans. JNCC is now considering whether each site should be recommended for protection so that their diversity may be maintained as free of human impact.

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Monday 03rd of August 2009
Basking shark conference underway on Isle of Man

The first global basking shark conference is underway on the Isle of Man. The week-long meeting includes researchers and conservationists and will culminate in the creation of a Biodiversity Action Plan, which will be the first step in protecting the endangered species. An aim of the meeting is to share data on photographic identification and assessments of human impacts on basking sharks.

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Tuesday 28th of July 2009
French Government wants 20% of its seas & oceans as MPAs by 2020

In a speech following the Grenelle de la Mer (France's conference on maritime and sustainable fisheries) President Sarkozy committed to increasing the size of protected zones in the French maritime area (including overseas territories) from its current 1% to 10% by 2012 and 20% by 2020. 10% of the 2020 target (approximately 1.1 million square km) will consist of reserves designed with input from scientists, fishermen and local stakeholders.

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Monday 27th of July 2009
Fishery sustainability is an issue for consumers

Warnings of impending collapse in some global fish stocks, brought on by unsustainable fishing practises, has led some consumers to be more selective in their dinner choices. Following Waitrose's decision not to stock threatened species, such as swordfish, their fish sales have increased by 15%, with purchases of frozen fish increasing by 21%. Conversely, companies continuing to stock and serve unsustainable species have been under increased pressure, such as the upscale sushi-chain Nobu which is currently being boycotted by the UK Fisheries Minister.

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Monday 27th of July 2009
Government renewables funding stalls while concerns raised over effects on parklands and marine reserves

Despite a Government push to have 40% of Britain's electricity needs provided by wind, tidal and nuclear power by 2020, none of the £50m in the Marine Renewable Deployment Fund has been allocated in the 5 years of its existence. Natural England has also expressed concerns over whether large-scale renewable energy projects, such as offshore wind farms and the proposed Severn Barrage, could be located in National Parks without having a significant environmental impact.

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Monday 20th of July 2009
Natural England proposes new draft and potential MPAs

Under the Habitats and Birds Directives, Natural England are recommending the creation of eight new MPAs to Government. The sites include two Special Protection Areas of importance to seabirds (Liverpool Bay, Outer Thames Estuary) and six marine habitat Special Areas of Conservation (Margate & Long Sands, Poole Bay to Lyme Bay Reefs, Prawle Point to Plymouth Sound & Eddystone, Lizard Point, Lands End & Cape Bank, and Shell Flat & Lune Deep). Public consultation on the sites will begin following Government approval.

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Friday 17th of July 2009
Latest issue of MPA news out now

The July-August issue of MPA News discusses progress in the development of MPAs in Australia and Hawai'i and presents more MPA-related work given at the 2nd International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Washington, D.C.

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Friday 17th of July 2009
Britain and France unite to save dwindling tuna

The UK Government is joining with French lobbyists in their attempts to have bluefin tuna trading banned internationally by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). According to WWF, the Mediterranean will be devoid of bluefin by 2012. Dr. Alex Rogers of the London Institute for Zoology has called for a reduction of global fishing fleets and increased protection through international MPA networks, in the hopes that this and other major oceanic predators may be saved. Unfortunately, the high value of bluefin in Japan is fuelling organised crime operations in the Med and elsewhere, resulting in catches that are four-times higher than recommended by researchers.

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Monday 13th of July 2009
Recovering cod stocks may allow for increased catch quotas

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea has released a study that finds a 15% reduction in mortality and a 40% increase in the numbers of spawning adults in North Sea cod stocks. SeaFish cites reductions in fishing effort as reasons for the improvements. It is expected that the report will lead to ICES recommendations for increased quotas on North Sea cod catches.

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Monday 13th of July 2009
Large expansion of offshore wind generators planned for South West

The Government is planning a huge expansion of wind energy off the Dorset and North Devon coasts that may provide as much as 34% of the region's power requirements by 2020. Proposals to restrict offshore wind farms to areas outside a 12 mile coastal zone were dropped to allow construction of seabed foundations in shallower, inshore waters.

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Monday 13th of July 2009
WWF releases Marine Health Check Update

WWF has released an update on their forthcoming Marine Health Check, to be released this autumn. The update outlines how the Marine and Coastal Access Bill, the Scottish Marine Bill and similar Northern Ireland legislation must be used to halt the decline of biodiversity. The continued decline or lack of recovery in flagship species such as the Pink Sea Fan, Harbour Dolphins, Atlantic Salmon and deep-sea coral implies the need for ecologically-relevant Marine Conservation Zones. They also recommend that MCZ boundaries be kept flexible, to allow dynamism in the face of an ever-changing marine environment, and that they should transcend political or administrative boundaries.

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Wednesday 08th of July 2009
DEFRA seeks scientific advisors for panel on MCZ creation

Eight members and a chairperson are being saught to provide independent scientific advice on Marine Conservation Zones to regional bodies that are responsible for creating them. DEFRA is seeking candidates who have expertise in UK marine ecology, ecosystem processes, MPA design and conservation. For more information and instructions on how to apply, see the link below.

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Tuesday 07th of July 2009
MPAs not enough to protect migratory fish

A simulation study from CEFAS and the University of York indicates that migratory fish, such as Atlantic cod and tuna, spend too much time away from MPAs in their migrations to be sufficiently protected by them. Transient species spend more time outside MPAs and become vulnerable to commercial fishing effects. However, it also finds that without the sanctuary of an MPA during part of their migration, fisheries were doomed to collapse. The authors of the study recommend dynamic fishing quotas and harvest control rules in addition to MPA creation to prevent "worst-case scenarios".

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Friday 03rd of July 2009
First half of North Rona survey completed

A team of marine scientists and surveyors from Scottish Natural Heritage and SeaStar Survey are currently undertaking a survey of marine habitats and species within North Rona Special Area of Conservation. The survey will focus on qualifying coastal and marine interests, including reefs, sea caves and coastline with vegetated sea cliffs that reach 75 metres in height. North Rona is also home to a population of 5,600 grey seals making it the third largest breeding colony in the British Isles. The second phase of the survey will kick-off with around 10 days of underwater video and photography to characterise the seafloor map generated during the recently-completed acoustic data collection. The underwater footage will also bring to life the wildlife that inhabits this remote and exposed part of the UK.

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Thursday 02nd of July 2009
Will the Marine Bill do enough for marine conservation?

The Marine and Coastal Access Bill is under criticism from concerned organisations such as the RSPB and the Friends of the Earth Marine Network, who say it is "subordinate to economic and social interests" and is inadequate to conserve representative habitats and species. The bill has just finished its second reading in the House of Commons.

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Thursday 02nd of July 2009
One-third of world's oceanic sharks threatened by fishing

The IUCN Shark Specialist Group has released the first study on the global conservation status of open ocean sharks and finds that 32% are facing extinction primarily because of overfishing. Slow maturation, long migration routes and production of few offspring combined with bycatch mortality and shark-finning pressures have contributed to their vulnerable state. To make matters worse, most pelagic shark catches are either unregulated or unsustainable. The IUCN is pleading for governments to take immediate action and establish coordinated international conservation plans.

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Thursday 02nd of July 2009
Wildlife Trusts launch website dedicated to North Sea conservation

Twelve Wildlife Trusts across the East coast of England are promoting the protection of the English North Sea's "weird and wonderful marine life" through a new website. The area reaches from the coast to 200 miles offshore between Northumberland and Suffolk and includes the Farne Islands (an important Puffin nesting area), The Wash (the UK's largest estuarine system), as well as several proposed and active Special Areas of Conservation. With provisions for such areas laid out in the forthcoming Marine and Coastal Access Bill, the Wildlife Trust's efforts are expected to culminate with the creation of the North Sea Marine Conservation Zone; one of four English MCZs proposed by Natural England and JNCC.

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Wednesday 01st of July 2009
Puffin tagging project seeks to explain decline

Electronic tags relaying GPS information are being attached to puffins on the Farne Islands, in the hope that the information obtained will explain why their numbers have declined sharply over the past 5 years. A research team from Newcastle University will use the tags to track the birds and learn about their winter range on the sea, as well as the length and depth of their underwater dives.

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Wednesday 01st of July 2009
Legal protection overridden as Scottish SSSI set to become Trump Golf Course

As a follow-up to a news article we presented in June of last year, approval for construction of the Trump International Golf Links resort has been given by the Scottish government, despite concerns raised by RSPB, SNH, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Sustainable Aberdeenshire over the impacts on the Menie Links sand dunes ecosystem. In particular, the 'back nine' of the course is planned to occupy about one-tenth of the dunes, despite protests from Trump's own environmental advisors who claim it will be unnecessarily destructive. Click here for another news article.

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Wednesday 24th of June 2009
Surveys of Isles of Scilly SAC uncover rich new biodiversity

A research team led by the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust has concluded a week-long expedition of 46 intertidal and 67 subtidal locations in the Isles of Scilly SAC. The sites, some previously unexplored, included habitats rich in sponges, corals, anemones, sea squirts and seaweeds. Dr. Keith Hiscock, a team member and marine biologist who has been diving the Isles of Scilly for forty years has observed a rare 'slime' sponge that has not been recorded there since 1969, plus species of sea squirt and cowrie that may be new to science.

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Wednesday 24th of June 2009
Debate over effectiveness of MPAs in managing UK fishery stocks

In an article in the latest issue of The Longliner, SeaFish compares the opinions of Natural England and the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations on the issue of MPA-mitigated fishery management. NE says that MPAs protect fish and shellfish populations by safeguarding spawning and nursery grounds and that ultimately benefits fisheries. NFFO disagree that area closures will always save fish stocks and recovery of some commercial fish stocks in UK waters does not warrant further measures that may result in a loss of livelihood and alienation of the fishing industry. See page 9 for the full article.

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Tuesday 23rd of June 2009
Food shortages lead to decrease in UK shorebirds over past decade

A report by JNCC documents how shorebird numbers in the UK have decreased by approximately 600000, or 9% over the past decade. The largest declines were seen in birds such as black-legged kittiwakes and European shags that feed on shoals of small fish, particularly lesser sandeels. The introduction of non-native mammal predators into nesting areas is also thought to be a contributing factor to the decline.

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Tuesday 23rd of June 2009
New Government climate change forecast seen as wake-up call

A new report by DEFRA's UK Climate Programme predicts weather and climate patterns across the UK to 2080 under scenarios of low, medium and high emissions output. Under medium emissions, it predicts a 4°C increase in peak summer temperature and less frequent, but more intense rainfall. In response to the report, Natural England has stressed the importance of enabling the natural environment to adapt to such significant changes, rather than relying on advances in technology and infrastructure to protect society. Helen Phillips, NE's Chief Executive, believes that "...if we do not work with nature and the environment we are doomed to failure in the battle against climate change."

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Thursday 18th of June 2009
Marine Conservation Society launches public campaign calling for more UK marine reserves

YourSeasYourVoice is a new campaign to foster public support for the creation of more marine reserves in the UK and the increased protection of existing MPAs. The website encourages visitors to suggest their own protected areas and allows them to provide descriptions and rationale as to conservation is need for the site. Currently, only three fully-protected marine areas exist in the UK, representing less than 1% of territorial waters. MCS plans to lobby for laws that will increase this number to 30%.

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Wednesday 17th of June 2009
Results of offshore seabed mapping surveys available from JNCC

JNCC has posted reports on seabed habitat surveys for thirteen offshore UK sites. Over five years of research is presented, including reports for the Irish Sea Pilot and Rockall and Dogger Banks. Photographs of benthic habitats and marine life are provided for each region, as well as a map of survey activities and recorded habitat types.

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Tuesday 16th of June 2009
Areas of Mid-Atlantic Ridge closed to bottom fishing

The North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, comprised of Greenland, the Faroe Islands, the EU, Iceland, Norway and Russia, have closed over 330 000 km² of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to bottom fishing in an attempt to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems and deep-sea diversity. NEAFC had earlier agreed to reduce deep-water bottom fishing by 35%.

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Tuesday 16th of June 2009
Latest issue of MPA news out now

The June, 2009 issue of MPA News discusses Australian and South African designations of large offshore conservation zones, and presents summaries of topics discussed at the joint meeting of the International Marine Conservation Congress and Second International Marine Protected Areas Congress. It also releases the results of an MPA News poll, showing that appreciation for ecosystem-based management has increased amongst its readers since 2006.

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Tuesday 16th of June 2009
Does End of the Line over-simplify the state of fish stocks?

The Scottish Fishermen's Federation believes the new film paints "an excessively gloomy and over-simplistic picture of global fish stocks". They state that Scottish fishermen are taking the lead in ensuring stocks are sustainably harvested and most have achieved Marine Stewardship Council accreditation. The SFF warns against extrapolation of overall, global trends to local areas, especially when considering a number of conservation efforts that the Scottish fleet have undertaken.

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Tuesday 16th of June 2009
South West fishermen and divers invited to help plan Marine Conservation Zones

Finding Sanctuary is encouraging fishermen and divers to join County MCZ Groups in Devon, Dorset and Somerset and provide advice on planning MCZs to regional Finding Sanctuary steering groups. The groups will also contain representatives of local governments and county maritime forums.

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Friday 12th of June 2009
Without MPAs, aquaria may be only refuge for reefs of the future

Dr. Alex Rogers of the Institute of Zoology of London has warned that, if significant efforts are not made within the next decade, by 2050 coral reefs may only be able to survive in aquaria. In addition to drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, Prof. Callum Roberts of the University of York has recommended that the creation of networks of Marine Protected Areas is essential in protecting such marine ecosystems that are on the verge of collapse due to the effects of ocean warming and acidification and removal of top predators and filter-feeders. Through proper ecosystem-based management, he believes productivity of the oceans could again reach levels beyond that which is seen today. However, he cautions that change must come more quickly.

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Wednesday 10th of June 2009
UNEP launches global database of MPAs

UNEP and the IUCN have announced a new web tool for obtaining information about MPAs. The World Database on Protected Areas-Marine website provides info on each country's conservation areas, with links to stats, images and wikipedia entries. The site is currently undergoing beta-testing, with future developments including the ability for managers and researchers to upload data on regional MPAs.

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Tuesday 09th of June 2009
Marine mammals in need of more, larger protected areas

According to Erich Hoyt of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, more MPAs are needed to protect marine mammals from the threats of whaling, fishing net and line entanglement, reductions in food availability due to overfishing, pollution and climate change. Through continuing research of their habits and by protecting the habitat in which they live, populations of whales, dolphins and other marine mammals may be better-sheltered from these detriments. Furthermore, as apex predators in a complex food web, protecting marine mammals may also lead to greater ecosystem stability, on the whole.

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Tuesday 09th of June 2009
New film calls for more responsible use of the world's oceans

A new film examines global trends towards overfishing and the decline of fish stocks. End of the Line, which is currently showing in cinemas, documents threatened species and the roles of the fishing industry, retailer, government and consumer in contributing to both the problem and the solution. It warns of the imminent extinction of several prominent species, including bluefin tuna, and of the potential collapse of most seafood fisheries by 2048 if current trends continue.

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Tuesday 09th of June 2009
European Commission requests public input on Common Fisheries Policy reforms

In an effort to stimulate reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy, the European Commission has produced a green paper outlining the need for its revision and is requesting public input. Views can be submitted by any EU citizen directly to the commission until the end of the year. The move follows the EC's admission that 88% of European fish stocks are overfished and many may not survive until 2012, the deadline for adoption of policy reforms.

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Monday 08th of June 2009
Northern Ireland Marine Bill might solve litter problem

RSPB is urging the Northern Ireland assembly to follow suit with the rest of the UK and introduce a Marine Bill. One of the benefits of the bill could be better control of marine litter, which is currently a threat to marine life in the area, including basking sharks.

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Friday 05th of June 2009
Creation of Italian MPA leads to rebounding fish populations

In the 10 years since the creation of a 374-hectare MPA off Portofino, Italy, fish stocks have increased, according to local officials, divers and fishermen. The area has been regulated using no take zones and permits, which limits fishing, anchoring and sport diving in other zones- a system initially opposed by many, but now viewed as a success.

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Wednesday 03rd of June 2009
Marine Bill report stage concluded by House of Lords

The report stage of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill was completed by the House of Lords on June 1st. The third reading, which provides a final chance for amendments, hasn't yet been scheduled.

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Wednesday 03rd of June 2009
Honeycomb worm reefs discovered off of Luce Bay

The most northerly honeycomb worm reefs in the NE Atlantic were found during a Scottish Natural Heritage survey of Luce Bay and Sands Special Area of Conservation. These reefs, amalgams of the shelters created by worms from sand and sediment, harbour a variety of florae and faunae, including seagrasses, whelks, mussels, crabs and dogfish. See page 7 of the Solway Firth Partnership newsletter Tidelines for more details (link below).

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Tuesday 02nd of June 2009
New study calls for more inclusion of fisheries industry in No Take Zone MPA dialogue

A new paper in Marine Policy by Dr. Peter Jones (University College London) examines feelings of geographical and political marginalisation among the fishing industry in response to expanding development of No Take Zone MPAs. The study recommends that inclusion of industry representatives in discussions concerning NTZ MPAs will provide constructive input and result in a more coherent MPA framework.

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Monday 01st of June 2009
Fisheries fund provides millions for English fishing industry

The selection panel of the European Fisheries Fund has approved fourteen projects proposed by the fishing industry. Although most funded projects involve factory improvement and outfitting, over £2M has been allocated to measures to reduce fish discards from otter trawling, improvements of Nephrops fishery sustainability and other responsible fishing schemes.

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Monday 01st of June 2009
MPAs make good economic sense

The IUCN has presented a compilation of case studies where MPAs have resulted in economic benefits for regional economies. Their recent press release cites the Isle of Lundy as one example where maintenance of a No Take Zone has resulted in increased income from tourism and replenishment of nearby fishery stocks from population growth of lobsters within the MPA. Other case studies include examples from Hawaii, Fiji, and the Philippines.

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Monday 01st of June 2009
Working towards the world's largest Marine Protected Area

The one-million-square-kilometre Coral Sea could become the largest MPA in existence, thanks to ongoing efforts by WWF and the region's governments and stakeholders. Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste have made commitments to developing a 10-year regional plan that addresses threatened species' protection and assesses new commercial activities in the area, which has so-far remained relatively undisturbed by human activities.

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Monday 01st of June 2009
Underwater video of Welsh MPAs now online

The Countryside Council for Wales is now providing underwater footage of MPAs through YouTube and georeferenced links in Google Oceans. The footage, including video of Pembrokeshire and Skomer, was collected during marine health surveys and monitoring programmes conducted by CCW.

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Tuesday 26th of May 2009
Rules deciding fishing quotas could be decentralised in EU review of Common Fisheries Policy

According to the European Commission, the implementation of regional fisheries management could be made the responsibility of individual Member States. On 22 April 2009, the Commission adopted a Green Paper on a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy to trigger and encourage public debate and to elicit views on the future CFP, which must be reviewed every 10 years. Following a broad public consultation on the options for a reform the Commission has until 2012 to draw up a new Common Fisheries Policy.

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Saturday 23rd of May 2009
Census of Marine Life reconstructs state of oceans from centuries past

The History of Marine Animal Populations section of the Census of Marine Life has trawled through historic records such as government tax records, ship's logs, monastery archives and even mounted trophies in a comprehensive attempt to shed light on what levels of marine life were like from hundreds to thousands of years ago. By tracking the progress of fishing technologies and activity, they hope to obtain a proxy measure of how and when fisheries were faced with new pressures, a new baseline against which current fishery levels may be compared, and an objective target for recovery efforts.

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Thursday 21st of May 2009
Plans for Severn Barrage raise environmental concerns

A report by an alliance of several environmental agencies, including the RSPB and National Trust, has raised questions over a Government multi-billion pound plan to construct the Severn Barrage. The alliance maintains environmental damage has not been properly considered and that estimates of power production are outdated. Furthermore, a new study by an engineering consultancy reports that barrage construction costs could be up to double the Government's previous estimate. The alliance partners are calling for the Government to have a second look before proceeding.

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Thursday 21st of May 2009
Scottish Government and Marine Stewardship Council partner to boost certification of fisheries

A new £20,000 outreach project attempts to boost the protection of Scottish fisheries while promoting the credentials of the Scottish fishing industry. With some fisheries from the langoustine, mackerel and herring sectors already MSC-certified and others under assessment, over half of the Scottish market is poised to reap the benefits of improved sustainability and product marketability.

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Monday 18th of May 2009
Latest issue of MPA news out now

The latest issue of MPA News provides advice for specialists when communicating with MPA managers. A U.S. plan to compensate fishers currently operating within proposed Hawaiian MPAs and a new web-based fundraising tool supporting the protection of Fijian MPAs are also examined.

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Friday 15th of May 2009
Shellfish industry needs major restructuring, according to leading industry figure

John MacAlister, the chairman of the Mallaig and North West Fishermen's Association, has called for a reduction in the catching capacity of mobile and static gear sectors in response to poor marketing conditions and rising costs. According to Mr. MacAlister, "Doing nothing is not an option and if nothing happens, there are going to be casualties."

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Friday 15th of May 2009
Public input sought on Cardigan Bay boating plan

The Ceredigion County Council is seeking public input on further developments of its Code of Conduct for recreational boat usage in Cardigan Bay. Currently, marine mammals are protected from disturbance in the Special Area of Conservation by mandatory and voluntary speed limits. However, the discovery that several headlands are important dolphin feeding areas has prompted the Council to consider further measures. Questionnaires are available from the Council's website and should be submitted before September.

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Thursday 14th of May 2009
New industry-wide management efforts for UK crab and lobster stocks

The new Crab and Lobster Strategy Group, initiated by the Scottish Fisheries Council, brings together fishermen, processors, policy makers and regulators with a goal to better management of crab and lobster stocks in the UK. Their efforts are further supported by Seafish's funding announcement of three industry-related projects involving the stock assessment and management of brown crabs.

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Wednesday 13th of May 2009
An illustration of a Marine Bill MPA network

DEFRA has produced a sample of how the principles of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill might be applied. Using a variety of examples ranging from birds and fish to numerous invertebrates, they outline seven requirements of MPA networks: habitat and species representativity, habitat replication, site viability, adequacy of site size, connectivity among MPAs in the network, variation in site protection levels and use of the best available evidence when designing networks.

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Wednesday 13th of May 2009
Draft guidance on MCZ creation in Marine Bill

DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government have released an ongoing draft of guidance for Part 5 of the Marine and Coastal access bill. Part 5 enables the creation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) and the draft outlines how it is intended to be used for MCZ designation, the delegation of duties to public authorities, the creation and use of conservation orders and the clarification of seaward boundaries of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves in relation to MCZs.

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Wednesday 13th of May 2009
Delegates warn Parliament that Marine Bill needs strengthening

Representatives of the Marine Conservation Society, the World Wildlife Fund, RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts have warned Parliament that the Marine and Coastal Access Bill, which is nearing final debate, lacks guarantees of protection for important marine life areas. The four organizations are calling for amendments that improve the ecological relevancy and impact of Marine Conservation Zones and reduce the influence of socio-economic factors on MCZ designation.

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Tuesday 12th of May 2009
One year on, Scotland still without its first marine conservation area

The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (CoAST) has raised concerns over government delays in creating fisheries management areas at Lamlash Bay. Although the area is designated as a no-take zone, its boundaries have not been demarked, leaving it imperceptible to fishermen operating in the area. While the Scottish Government commented that discussions on signposting were ongoing, Howard Wood, the chairman of CoAST, has described the situation as "a complete lack of action."

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Sunday 10th of May 2009
Seahorse tagging project begun in Dorset

The first tagging project involving Britain's two native species of seahorse has begun in Studland Bay, Dorset. The Seahorse Trust, with support from Natural England and funding from the National Lottery, is undertaking the study to determine the level of endangerment the two species face and whether the survival of the reproductive population in Studland Bay is threatened habitat loss caused by boating activities.

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Wednesday 06th of May 2009
Scottish Marine Bill introduced

Scotland's first Marine Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 30/04/2009. It follows calls from environmental groups, the marine industry and coastal communities for more effective, joined up management of Scotland's unique seas. Key measures include: a new marine planning framework so that increasing use of the seas for energy, fishing, aquaculture, recreation and other purposes is well managed; and improved marine nature and historic conservation to safeguard and protect Scotland's unique habitats, wildlife and marine archaeology and wrecks.

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Wednesday 06th of May 2009
A draft strategy for marine protected areas

Defra are consulting on delivering Marine Conservation Zones and European Marine Sites and have released a draft strategy for marine protected areas. This sets out how existing obligations for marine protected areas under European Directives together with Marine Conservation Zones under the Marine and Coastal Access Bill and other designated sites will deliver an ecologically coherent network by 2012. Comments are invited by 13 July 2009.

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Friday 01st of May 2009
New issue of Fishing Focus released

DEFRA's spring issue of Fishing Focus is now available. Among the topics it discusses are progress on the Sustainable Access to Inshore Fisheries project, DEFRA's objectives for the UK marine area (to be incorporated into their Marine Policy Statement), a 5 year joint research programme with NERC on ocean acidification, creation of a Marine Science Co-ordination Committee, and measures to decommission fishing vessels in attempts to ease inshore fishing problems.

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Monday 27th of April 2009
Latest issue of MPA news out now

This month MPA News re-examines the role of MPAs in ecosystem-based management and looks at Canada's integrated approach to MPA management. This issue also looks at the creation of the first Marine Reserve in Ecuador.

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Monday 27th of April 2009
Call for 20-year fishing ban in a third of oceans

Scientists and conservation groups warn that a third of the world's oceans must be closed to fishing for 20 years if depleted stocks are to recover. Callum Roberts, professor of marine conservation at the University of York, emphasises that MPA networks are essential to sustainable fisheries. A spokesperson for the fishing industry says that pressure on stocks just outside of a protected area can "mitigate against the impact of the MPA".

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Monday 06th of April 2009
A bridge too far?

Academics at the University College London have published findings of a study looking at the knowledge base for designing an ecologically coherent network of MPAs. The study, led by Peter Jones, collates expert opinion and specifically investigates the larval dispersal potential of 31 rare/scarce benthic invertebrates, finding that over half have dispersal potentials of less than 1km.

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Monday 06th of April 2009
North Sea's first No-Take Zone

The North East Sea Fisheries Committee (NESFC) has approved a proposed bye-law to create a No-Take Zone (NTZ) off Flamborough Head. Peter Nottage, Natural England's regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber said: "This bye-law will create the first NTZ in the North Sea so it's an important step not just for Flamborough, but also for the North Sea as a whole".

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Friday 13th of March 2009
Latest issue of MPA news out now

This month MPA News asks MPA practitioners how they foresee the economic crisis affecting their sites or institutions, and what steps they are taking to prepare for it. It also looks at the web based MPA design tool MarineMap and Peter Jones from the University of Central London examines the balance between human health and marine ecosystem health.

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Tuesday 03rd of March 2009
Defra produce indicative maps to help explain devolved application of Marine and Coastal Access Bill

Defra have produced a series of maps to help explain how the Bill will apply to different areas of the seas around the UK. The maps are intended as a guide to help understanding of the Bill, and Defra stress that they are indicative only and not to scale. In areas where provisions apply to the offshore areas adjacent to Wales or Northern Ireland, this is shown with text rather than boundaries on the map. To see the maps follow the link below.

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Friday 13th of February 2009
Tyneside to be Home to New Marine Management Organisation

There has now been final confirmation that the new Marine Management Organisation (MMO), part of the government's Marine and Coastal Access Bill, will be based in Tyneside. The MMO will be a Non-Departmental Public Body, replacing the Marine and Fisheries Agency and will be charged with enforcement of sea fisheries, nature conservation and licensing using powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Bill.

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Friday 13th of February 2009
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the February 2009 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). There is a summary of a paper out in Ocean and Coastal Management which describes a new approach to designing MPAs using 'sliding doors', where the size and shape necessary to protect contiguous habitats important for species that show short term migration patterns, are set at the start of the process. In addition to the usual articles on best practice this issue discusses Queensland Tourism Board's innovative 'Best Job in the World' promotion, and how it is being used to promote a new Islands of the Great Barrier Reef campaign.

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Tuesday 10th of February 2009
Plymouth scientists release UK marine life layer for Google Oceans

Following the launch of Google Oceans the Marine Biological Association at Plymouth is pleased to announce the release of an information layer for UK marine life for Google Oceans. This release means that MarLIN marine life data holdings built up over 10 years are now linked with the powerful tool of Google Oceans. Distributions of UK Biodiversity Action Plan species can be viewed and overlayed with all sorts of other marine data such as depth and salinity. All the information in the layer is dynamically linked ensuring that users receive the most up-to-date information available. Follow the link to read more and download the layer to your Google Oceans.

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Wednesday 28th of January 2009
Moray Firth dolphins given reprieve from oil and gas exploration

WDCS efforts to prevent the oil and gas industry carrying out seismic surveys inside Moray Firth SAC have gained a small victory. The Department for Energy and Climate Change has decided not to carry out any seismic surveys in the region during 2009 and has agreed to fund independent research into the effects gas and oil exploration will have on the area. The Moray Firth was designated as a SAC primarily because it is home to the only known resident population of bottlenose dolphins in the North Sea.

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Tuesday 27th of January 2009
Finding Sanctuary steering group calling for new members

Finding Sanctuary is a partnership project which aims to secure a healthy and productive future for the coasts and seas of South West England. The Steering Group is currently made up of fifteen members representing recreational sea angling, statutory nature conservation, marine scientists, nature conservation NGOs, fishery management and enforcement, inshore and offshore fishermen, offshore renewable energy, ports and shipping. An application form will be available from the Finding Sanctuary website soon. The deadline for applications is Friday 6th March 2009 and applications will be considered by the Steering Group on 11th March 2009.

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Tuesday 06th of January 2009
Bush to designate world's largest marine protected area

President Bush is expected to announce the designation of nearly 200,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean as a marine protected areas today. Commercial fishing, mining and energy exploration will be prohibited within nine sites, which include the Mariana Trench, Palmyra Atoll and Wake Island.

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Monday 22nd of December 2008
JNCC launches new marine protected areas website

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee has significantly increased the information availble on their website. Information can be found on SAC selection documents, GIS boundaries and conservation objectives.

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Thursday 18th of December 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the December/January 2008/9 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). This issue discusses the potential impact of ocean acidification on MPAs.

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Friday 12th of December 2008
Finding Sanctuary launches new website

Finding Sanctuary's new website goes live tomorrow (13th Dec) and features a new GIS tool that will allow stakeholders to input data on the marine environment. The website has detailed information about the project and MPAs in general. Feedback on the new website is encouraged as there will be a second phase of development early next year.

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Wednesday 10th of December 2008
Too many conservation zones put livelihoods and skills at risk

Philip MacMullen, Head of Environmental Responsibility at Seafish in reaction to the Co-operative and the Marine Conservation Society's call to ban fishing in 30% of UK waters by 2020, said that it would endanger rural economies and skills. Stating that "Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are only part of the answer to the challenge of creating a sustainable marine environment." He said that other approaches are also required to utilise the marine environment sustainably.

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Tuesday 09th of December 2008
Open source mapping tool wins Mellon award for technology

The third annual Mellon Foundation awards for technology collaboration awarded Ecotrust, an innovative company whose work aids in the sustainable use of the natural environment, their open source mapping software Open OceanMap. The software is aimed at collecting data from local resource users such as fishermen, to aid in marine spatial planning.

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Tuesday 09th of December 2008
Marine LBAP guidance manual for England published.

Published by the Marine Conservation Society the manual aims to provide information and advice for Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) Officers about the marine species and habitats that occur within their respective regions.

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Tuesday 09th of December 2008
Fishing should be banned in 30% of UK waters

The Co-operative in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society estimate that 30% of UK waters must become no take zones by 2020 to allow the environment to recover from decades of exploitation.

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Monday 08th of December 2008
Latest issue of JNCC Nature News out now

In this issue: details of the proposed offshore SACs are given, plus plans for three more.

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Monday 08th of December 2008
The Marine and Coastal Access Bill

Follow the link to view the bill as it was presented to Parliament.

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Friday 05th of December 2008
UK basking sharks still under threat according to two reports

Two reports released today by the Wildlife Trusts and Natural England conclude that the basking sharks are still under threat despite being an internationally recognised endangered species. The reports are the result of eight years of boat based study within the UK.

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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
Natural England calls on government to deliver on Marine Bill

The Chief Executive of Natural England, called on Parliament to seize the once in a lifetime opportunity and to deliver a Marine Bill with teeth. The Marine and Coastal Access Bill, which is expected to be included in the Queen's Speech tomorrow, contains provisions to strengthen marine conservation in England.

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Monday 01st of December 2008
Scotland given more control over marine environment

The Scottish Government has been given control of planning and nature conservation over Scotland's territorial waters out to 200 nautical miles. Previously control stopped at 12 nautical miles. The power to grant licences to the oil and gas industry will be retained by Westminster.

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Tuesday 25th of November 2008
First British offshore marine protected areas

Five offshore special areas of conservation have been created under the European Habitats Directive. The sites include the Darwin Mounds, Scanner Pockmarks, Braemar Pockmarks, Stanton Bank and Haig Fras.

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Monday 17th of November 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the November 2008 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). Includes a discussion of the new IUCN definition for marine protected areas and a certification programme for MPA workers.

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Monday 10th of November 2008
Dog tags

In an effort to deliver scientific evidence of the decline of spurdog sharks in Scottish waters, anglers plan a tagathon for the weekend of the 15th of November 2008. The tag and release exercise will provide valuable data on spurdog numbers in the region.

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Tuesday 21st of October 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the October 2008 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). Includes a run down of events at the recent World Conservation Congress held in Barcelona.

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Tuesday 14th of October 2008
Marine Conservation Society (MCS) launches Silent Seas report

The MCS launched their "Silent Seas" report documenting the inaduequate protection of UK seas. The document warns of impending ecological disaster if a serious attempt at mitigating the human impact on the sea is not made.

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Friday 10th of October 2008
Less than half of European protected species and habitats are in favourable conservation status.

The European Environment Agency presented the initial findings of a report on the state of protected species and habitats at the World Conservation Congress being held in Barcelona.

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Tuesday 07th of October 2008
IUCN WCPA-marine launches global Plan of Action for establishing MPAs

IUCN WCPA-marine, after an extensive global consultative process, is launching the global Plan of Action to accelerate progress to establishing MPAs. Information about priority actions, key actors, and updates on progress can be found at the MPA web portal also being launched today.

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Tuesday 07th of October 2008
IUCN and Google Earth bring MPAs to your desktop

In an unprecedented partnership spearheaded by IUCN and its World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), compelling imagery, stories, and information about each Marine Protected Area is available on computers worldwide through Google Earth Outreach. IUCN WCPA-marine Vice Chair Prof Dan Laffoley commented "By using the power and reach of Google Earth Outreach and the global network and expertise of IUCN WCPA-marine, we are now able to put critical ocean issues in front of hundreds of millions of people around the world. And, once we have people's attention, we hope to move them from awareness to action to protect planet ocean."

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Thursday 25th of September 2008
Government's response to the Defra Marine Bill Consultation published

The Government's response to the pre-scrutiny committee findings and public consultation on the Marine Bill have been released by Defra.

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Monday 22nd of September 2008
Scotland gets its first 'No-Take Zone'

The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) 13 years of hard work paid off today as the Scottish Government created Scotland's first 'No-Take Zone' in Lamlash Bay on the Isle of Arran. All fishing within the specified area will be banned while a scientific trial will be carried out to investigate the fishery and bio-diversity benefits of leaving the seabed to regenerate naturally without any disturbance.

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Sunday 21st of September 2008
Proposed Marine Reserve at Lamlash Bay: consultation responses now available

All non-confidential responses to the consultation on the on a Proposed Marine Reserve at Lamlash Bay, and a summary of the analysis of responses, are now available to the public on on the Scottish Goverment website. A decision on how the Scottish Government intend to proceed will be released soon.

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Monday 15th of September 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the September 2008 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). Includes a prediction of what MPA planning and management will be like in ten years time and tips on tracking ships to avoid damage to sensitive areas.

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Monday 11th of August 2008
How much could MCZs be worth?

A new report by the Scottish Agricultural College, commissioned by Defra, JNCC and NE, has attempted to determine monetary values for use and non-use goods and services resulting from the implementation of a hypothetical marine conservation zones (MCZ) scenario. Surveys were completed in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The potential benefits were estimated by SAC to be between £487 and £1,170.7 million per year.

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Monday 11th of August 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the August 2008 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). Includes two articles about the methods used to select MPAs (from Delphi to Marxan) and a short piece regarding the use of non-technical language to promote MPAs.

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Wednesday 30th of July 2008
Joint Committee Report on Draft Marine Bill out

The Joint Committee was appointed on 13 May 2008 to scrutinise the draft Marine Bill presented to the House of Commons and House of Lords on 3 April 2008. They held eight public evidence sessions, hearing from 22 sets of witnesses representing 38 organisations. This report gives the results of these sessions and reports on questions such as "Should there be a statutory requirement on a UK body to ensure that the network of Marine Conservation Zones is created?" and "Is there sufficient biological data to identify a potential network of Marine Conservation Zones and what proportion should be highly protected?". The report also offers some clarification on the devolution and European issues associated with the draft Bill.

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Tuesday 29th of July 2008
Plymouth marine scientists contracted to monitor the ecological and socio-economic impact of the Lyme Bay 60 square mile exclusion zone

Defra's move to close off almost ten per cent of Lyme Bay to scallop dredging and bottom trawling, is the country's largest ever closure of a marine area to protect wildlife. The University of Plymouth, together with Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Marine Biological Association of the UK have been contracted by Defra to monitor the impact of the ban by assessing the recovery of the marine wildlife and analysing the social and economic impacts on the affected communities.

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Wednesday 16th of July 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the July 2008 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). This month, MPA News considers the range of costs associated with marine protected areas and the MPA Perspectives section looks at the opportunities for marine environmental protection on the outer continental shelf.

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Wednesday 16th of July 2008
Proceedings of the 41st European Marine Biology Symposium published

A publication out this week presents a representative sample of contributions to the 41st European Marine Biology Symposium held in September 2005 in Cork, Ireland. The theme of the symposium was 'Challenges to Marine Ecosystems' and included a special session on Marine Protected Areas. Seven papers from this session are included in this publication.

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Sunday 13th of July 2008
Scottish Marine Bill consultation document released

During a visit to the Storehouse of Foulis on the Cromarty Firth today, Richard Lochhead, the rural affairs and environment secretary, unveiled the Scottish Government's plans for Scottish Marine Bill. It sets out the ways the Scottish government wants to protect the seas around Scotland's coastline.

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Monday 30th of June 2008
Marine reserves in Northern Ireland: Report to WWF and Ulster Wildlife Trust

A report by the University of York examining MPAs in Northern Ireland identifies that highly protected marine reserves should be part of future plans to protect Northern Ireland's seas. Areas identified include parts of the Antrim Coast for example Red Bay and parts of Lough Foyle, Dundrum Bay, Rathlin Island and Strangford Lough.

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Tuesday 24th of June 2008
UK Fisheries Minister Jonathan Shaw MP visits the Lundy Marine Nature Reserve

The UK Fisheries Minister Jonathan Shaw MP visited the Lundy Marine Nature Reserve on 20th June. Follow the link to read notes taken from commentary and interviews broadcast on BBC Spotlight where it could be seen that the Minister visited Lundy on the charter boat Obsession II and was accompanied by Chris Davis of Natural England (NE) and, at Lundy, by Derek Green, Island Manager.

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Monday 23rd of June 2008
POSTnote issued on Marine Conservation Zones

POST (Parlimentary Office of Science and Technology) is the UK Parliament's in-house source of independent, balanced and accessible analysis of public policy issues related to science and technology. This briefing note (POSTnote) for parlimentarians examines the possibility of using a MCZ network to manage the impacts of human activities on the marine environment.

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Friday 20th of June 2008
DEFRA announces protection for Lyme Bay Reefs

On the 19th of June 2008 ministers banned damaging types of fishing in 60 square nautical miles of sea off the South West coast. The decision followed a lengthy public consultation in which nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents voted in favour of the exclusion zone in Lyme Bay to protect its vulnerable marine habitats and wildlife.

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Monday 16th of June 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the June 2008 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). Includes an article about "de facto" marine protected areas (e.g. man made structures that limit certain activities such as fishing and therefore provide some degree of protection). There is also a report on how France are implementing their MPA law.

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Wednesday 11th of June 2008
Inquiry into Trump International Golf Links resort development on SSSI underway

The Public Local Inquiry into the application by Trump International Golf Links to construct a golf course and resort development at Menie Estate, just north of Aberdeen, began yesterday (10 June 2008). The 1 billion pound golf course is planned to be built on one of the very best examples of a mobile dune system in the country and (Read RSPB article). There is support for the development from those who believe that the boost to the local economy outweighs the environmental damage (read an article by Magnus Linklater) . SSSI designation should offer such a site a very high level of protection, but this case will test this.

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Monday 09th of June 2008
COAST win Observer Ethical Conservation Award

Community of Arran Seabed Trust have won top prize for the best Conservation project in this years Observer Ethical awards for their community based work in setting up the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone.

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Monday 02nd of June 2008
Defra gives guidance on selecting and designating MCZs

Defra today published their Draft guidance on selection and designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). This useful document provides guidance on issues such as principles for network design and selection of MCZs, stakeholder involvement, conservation objectives and the role of ministers in designating MCZs. Defra have released the document in draft form ahead of this months evidence sessions.

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Sunday 01st of June 2008
Making Waves

The latest Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) Newsletter is now out. It includes news about the Fair Isle's efforts to become Scotland's first Coastal Marine National Park and FIMETI's participation in and support of the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative Shetland pilot

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Sunday 18th of May 2008
Marine Protected Areas and the Marine Bill - has anything changed?

As part of the the Seminar Series at Citadel Hill hosted by the MBA and SAHFOS, Tom Appleby from the University of the West of England and University of Bristol Law School will be talking about changes in legislative measures for MPAs under the Marine Bill. The talk will be at the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth on Thursday 22nd May 2008, 4- 5 pm. Please email info@ukmpas.org.uk for more information. Tom Appleby's recent report on the establishment of MPAs under current legislation is availble by following the link below.

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Saturday 17th of May 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the May 2008 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). Includes news about Canada's plans for network of MPAs by 2012 and creating endowments for long term funding of MPAs.

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Thursday 03rd of April 2008
Better protected seas promised in Marine Bill

New marine nature reserves around Britain's coast are among radical plans published today by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn. A new network of marine conservation zones, for species and habitats of national importance, will be put in place by 2012 under new powers contained in the government's draft Marine Bill. The new marine conservation zones will have clear conservation objectives, to protect habitats and species of national importance, ensuring that some types of fishing, dredging or other forms of development do not damage them. Measures to give people the freedom to walk round the English coast for the first time are also included.

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Thursday 03rd of April 2008
Responses to Consultation on measures to protect Lyme Bay marine biodiversity

Public consultation took place between September and December 2007 on the measures to protect marine biodiversity in Lyme Bay from the impact of fishing with dredges and other towed gear. Responses reveal that 73% of respondents were in favour of closing 60 square miles of reef to scallop dredging.

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Thursday 03rd of April 2008
Fishing industry perspective on no-take MPAs in SW England

In a forthcoming paper to be published in the journal 'Marine Policy', Peter Jones gives an account of the views of fishing industry representatives in south-west England about no-take mpa proposals. Of those questioned, 23% thought such mpas were the way forward. Concerns expressed included that fish yield reductions from the loss of fishing areas would not be compensated for through spillover/export. The view was expressed that [no-take mpa advocates] should be open and honest that such areas are primarily intended to achieve biodiversity conservation benefits.

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Thursday 03rd of April 2008
Latest issue of Thanet Coast Newsletter out now

Read the latest copy of the Thanet Coast Newsletter twice yearly magazine. This year, the Thanet Coast Project has gone overboard and arranged more exciting events and activities than ever before, including Rockpool Rambles, Seashore Safaris and much more.

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Thursday 03rd of April 2008
Scuba Divers March On Westminster and Demand Marine Reserves Now

Scuba divers showed their support for a network of MPAs by marching on Parliament on April 3rd dressed in dive kit. The divers delivered a petition of 100,000 names calling for Marine Reserves Now

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Thursday 20th of March 2008
Call for North Sea reserves

WWF is calling for a network of marine reserves to cover at least 30% of the North Sea to help rebuild populations of many fish species and protect their habitats. In the new WWF report, A Return to Abundance: A Case for Marine Reserves in the North Sea, they suggest a network of five experimental marine reserves that will improve the sustainability of fisheries, protect biodiversity, and help establish a healthy ecosystem.

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Wednesday 19th of March 2008
RSPB challenge the government to protect seabirds

A report published by the RSPB highlights the urgent need for more work to be done to ensure the increased protection of the UK's marine environment, especially for seabirds, and lays down a challenge to Government to address this issue

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Tuesday 11th of March 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the March 2008 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). Includes news about a project to strengthen the World Database on Protected Areas and a special report on MPAs in Europe.

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Friday 07th of March 2008
Fal and Helford SAC to be closed to dredging for shellfish and demersal trawling

Defra has announced its intention today to close the Fal and Helford SAC (seaward of the estuaries) to dredging for shellfish and to demersal trawling. Further info can be found on Defra's website. In conjunction with Defra and CEFAS, CSFC (Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee) will be examining the potential for an experimental Marine Protected Area for scallops within this area.

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Monday 18th of February 2008
Finding Sanctuary science workshops - April 2008

Finding Sanctuary is planning a series of science workshops, gathering together the best available scientific knowledge and expertise about our regional seas. The first four workshops, organised in conjunction with the RSPB, MarLIN and MCS, will be held in April 2008, and will focus on answering the most fundamental questions: What species/ habitats/ other features need to be represented within the MPA? How much of each? Why? What impacts do these features need protecting from?

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Sunday 10th of February 2008
Latest issue of MPA news out now

Follow the link to the February 2008 issue of MPA news (International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas). Includes news about a project to strengthen the World Database on Protected Areas and tips on restoring seagrass after vessel damage.

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Tuesday 05th of February 2008
Pew Institute for Ocean Science awards 5 fellowships in support of global marine conservation

The Pew Institute for Ocean Science announced the recipients of the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation for 2008. Five awardees will carry out projects that are urgently needed to enhance the effectiveness of marine protected areas, improve coral reef health, and sustain fisheries. The winners, based in the United States, China, France, Australia and Canada will each recieve $150,000 to conduct innovative research projects over three-years.

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Thursday 31st of January 2008
Important Bird Areas project wins prize

A project from SPEA (BirdLife Portugal) to identify marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) unanimously won Portugal's National BES Biodiversity award. The project, supported by the European Commission's LIFE programme, was a pioneer project in Europe and forms a scientific basis for the designation of the future network of protected marine areas, including identifying EU Natura 2000 sites.

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Monday 28th of January 2008
The 3rd World Congress of Biosphere Reserves: Biosphere Futures

Held by the Government of Spain and UNESCO in Madrid from 4-9 February 2008, the congress brought together international experts and the MAB constituency to work on a five-point agenda to elaborate an Action Plan for the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

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Wednesday 23rd of January 2008
The similarity of culinary skills and marine reserves.

Scientists at Oregon university liken the success of marine reserves to cooking, in that success is dependent upon the balance of ingredients and cooking techniques, to achieve the required taste. The article argues that marine reserves work and discusses the science which success is based upon.

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Monday 21st of January 2008
Giant step closer to Scotland's first Marine No Take Zone.

Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment in the Scottish Parliament attended a public meeting on the Isle of Arran to make an announcement on the Lamlash Bay project. The announcement was hoped to bring the establishment of Scotland's first No Take Zone and the UK's first community and fishermen led Marine Protected Area a giant step closer.

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Tuesday 01st of January 2008
The World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, Valencia, Spain, 11-15 November 2008

The World Conference on Marine Biodiversity will be held in Valencia, Spain on 11-15 November 2008. There are several sessions relevant to biodiversity conservation and to mpa's, the most obvious being '4.3 Conserving Marine Biodiversity: Making Policy, Management Tools, and Scientific Knowledge Work Together'

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Thursday 20th of December 2007
JNCC consults on the selection of UK offshore Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) have launched a consultation on the selection of the first seven Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for UK offshore waters. JNCC recommended the seven areas as offshore SACs to Government between 2002 and 2006. The coming into force of the Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations in August 2007 means that the scientific justification for these sites and their boundaries can now be consulted upon. The consultation period will last for 12 weeks, and submissions need to be sent to JNCC by 14 March 2008.

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Thursday 01st of November 2007
Cardigan Bay SAC draft management plan

The draft management scheme for Cardigan Bay SAC is now available online. The SAC newsletter which includes a summary of the scheme is also available to download.

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Tuesday 04th of September 2007
Towards a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas conference.

The conference was held in Scarborough from 2-4 October 2007. Attendees with experience in the management, designation, science and policy of MPAs were able to share information. The conference also provided an opportunity to learn about the latest MPA science, good practice and policies from speakers from the UK and abroad. The conference report is available here

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