• Record Numbers of Humpbacks and Blue Whales Near Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

    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.

  • NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Seeks Advisory Council Applicants

    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.

  • Draft Environmental Assessment for Changes in Regulations for Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries

    The National Marine Fisheries Service, of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, expanded the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (now renamed Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary or GFNMS) and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNFS) to an area north and west of their previous boundaries with a final rule published on March 12, 2015. The final rule entered into effect on June 9, 2015.

    Pursuant to a request from the U.S. Coast guard, NOAA is considering developing a future rulemaking to allow the following USCG discharges within part or all of GFNMS and CBNMS:

  • ACCOBAMS Reports on Marine Protected Areas

    ACCOBAMS is the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area. It is a cooperative tool for the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. It publishes a newsletter entitle FINS. The latest issue of FINS includes the following discussion of marine protected areas:

  • NOAA Withdraws Changes to Hawaii Humpback Whale Sanctuary Regulations

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has withdrawn a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register on March 26, 2015 (80 FR 16224), to amend the regulations for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and to revise the sanctuary’s terms of designation and management plan. This withdrawal is in response to adverse comments by the State of Hawaii.

    Click here to read more about this action.

  • NOAA Ship Exploring Pacific Marine Protected Areas

    The NOAA website states:

    “From February 25 to March 18, 2016, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will explore largely uncharted deep-sea ecosystems and seafloor in and around the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM). During the 2016 Hohonu Moana: Exploring the Deep Waters off Hawai’i expedition, our at-sea and shore-based science teams will work together to make some of the first deepwater scientific observations in this area.

    The expedition will commence in Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu and conclude at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. During the expedition, scientists on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will conduct telepresence-enabled remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and mapping operations. Scientists will collect critical baseline information to meet NOAA science and management needs within the Hawaiian Archipelago.

  • South Africa proposes 22 New MPAS

    The South African Department of Environmental Affairs has recently announced the proposal to proclaim 22 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) all along South Africa’s shores, and invited the public to comment on the concept.

    The aim of the new MPAs is to increase the area of ocean biodiversity that is protected from the current scale – less than 1% – to about 5%, says Zolile Nqayi, Director of Communication for the DEA.

    Click here to read article on these proposed MPAs.

  • Applications for National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils

    The U.S Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce (DOC). seeks applications for vacant seats for five of its 13 national marine sanctuary advisory councils (advisory councils). Vacant seats, including positions (i.e., primary member and alternate), for each of the advisory councils are listed in this notice under Supplementary Information. 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 who are 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.

  • Three New Marine Protected Areas off UK’s Northeast Coastline

    There are three new marine protected areas off the UK’s northeast coastline. These regions are the marine conservation zones (MCZs) of Coquet Island off Amble to St Mary’s Island off Whitley Bay, plus Farnes East and Fulmar off Northumberland.

    Marine Conservation Zones are a type of protected area at sea designated for habitats and species of national importance.

    The list of Marine Conservation Zones was drawn-up by sea-users, scientists and conservationists, with Government committing to designating the sites in three waves or tranches.

    The Wildlife Trusts, actively involved in every step of the process, are calling for people to join more than 8,000 other supporters as a Friend of MCZs.

  • Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Reviewing Sanctuary Boundaries

    The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has published a “Notice of intent to review boundaries; intent to prepare environmental impact statement; hold scoping meetings.”

    NOAA’s published notice explains that the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is reviewing the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary boundaries in order to evaluate and consider the benefits, need and impact of expanding the sanctuary’s boundaries to include additional submerged maritime cultural and archaeologic resources as described in the February 2013 Monitor National Marine Sanctuary Final Management Plan and Environmental Assessment.