President Obama has declared the first fully protected area in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean, designating 4,913 square miles off the New England coastline as a new marine national monument.
The President’s previous marine conservation declarations have focused on some of the most remote waters under U.S. jurisdiction, including last month’s expansion of a massive protected area in Hawaii. But the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is more accessible, lying 130 miles off the southeast coast of Cape Cod.
President Obama has now declared 553,000,000 acres of new national monuments, the most by any president. The previous high was George W. Bush’s 214, 800,000.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council will hold a public meeting Tuesday, September 27, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. An opportunity for public comment will be provided at 3:45 p.m. ET. The meeting will be held in The National Press Club’s Bloomberg Room located on the 13th Floor of The National Press Building at 529 14th Street NW., Washington, DC 20045.
The Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council has been formed to provide advice and recommendations to NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries regarding the relationship of ONMS with the business community. Additional information on the council can be found at here.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Requests Nominations for the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The Committee advises the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior on implementing Section 4 of Executive Order 13158, specifically on strategies and priorities for developing the national system of marine protected areas (MPAs) and on practical approaches to further enhance and expand protection of new and existing MPAs.
Nominations are sought for highly qualified non-Federal scientists, resource managers, and people representing other interests or organizations involved with or affected by marine protected areas, including in the Great Lakes. Ten of the 20 members of the 2 Committee have terms that expire November 15, 2016, and nominations are sought to fill these vacancies.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is seeking applications for vacant seats for eight of its 13 national marine sanctuary advisory councils, and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council. Applicants are chosen based upon their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; views regarding the protection and management of marine or Great Lake resources; and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the sanctuary. Applicants chosen as members or alternates should expect to serve two or three year terms, pursuant to the charter of the specific national marine sanctuary advisory council or Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council.
Nature Magazine recently published an article titled “Policy: Marine biodiversity needs more than protection.” This article reads in part as follows:
“On 1 September, government leaders, directors of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others will meet in Hawaii at the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress to discuss environmental and development challenges. Twenty-three NGOs, including the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are calling on the IUCN to make 30% of the world’s coastal and marine areas fully protected from fishing and other forms of exploitation by 2030.”
A study recently published by scientists from the National Oceanography Centre and University College Cork in the UK concludes that deep, cold-water corals are very slow to recover from damage. The study further concludes that deep-water Marine Protected Areas can be used to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems most effectively when they are put in place before that damage occurs.
The California Fish and Game Commission voted to delay adoption of a management plan for the state’s system of Marine Protection Areas for a second time. The delay did not stop sport anglers from raising concerns on proposed changes to the plan, which they claim will betray assurances made by the commission that it would reconsider opening the protected waters to fishing every five years.
The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the following article on their website:
“Focus group on integrating marine mammal behavioral monitoring techniques into the process for the identification of Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs)
Integrating marine mammal behavioral monitoring techniques into the
process for the identification of Important Marine Mammal Areas
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador (YYT), Canada, Sunday July 29,
2016. Held in association with the 4th International Marine Conservation
Congress (IMCC), July 30 – August 4, 2016
This IMMA focus group aims to address the following question: How can
we better integrate marine mammal behavioral data, observed through direct
observation or remote monitoring techniques, into the process for
Record numbers of humpack and blue whales are feeding off the coast of San Francisco, a study near the Farallon Islands has confirmed
“We don’t know if it’s food-driven or water-temperature- or climate-change-driven,” Jan Roletto, research coordinator for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, said.
Last year was also a big year for humpbacks. “They’ve been showing up earlier and earlier” every year, she said.
Researchers suspect the giant cetaceans are following prey — including the tiny shrimp-like creatures known as krill, anchovies and schools of small fish. Several humpbacks were seen over the past few weeks feeding in San Francisco Bay near Fort Point, a highly unusual activity for the whales, which generally prefer to be well offshore.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has posted the following request:
“Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is seeking applicants for six alternate seats on its advisory council. The council ensures public participation in sanctuary management and provides advice to the sanctuary superintendent.”
“The sanctuary is accepting applications for the following alternate seats: business/industry; mobile gear commercial fishing; recreational fishing; research; whale watch; and youth.