There was unfortunate news from PEER recently that the Obamans/NOAA Chief Jane Lubchenco have no plans to consider new marine protected areas. She cited lack of funds as the reason. Hum.
In an era where oceans are under so much pressure, we need to prioritize efforts proven to bring life back to the seas, like MPAs. They work. As Jennifer Jacquet points out at the Guilty Planet blog:
Research by Callum Roberts et al. (2001) published in Science found:
a network of five small reserves in St. Lucia increased adjacent catches of artisanal fishers by between 46 and 90%, depending on the type of gear the fishers used. In Florida, reserve zones in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge have supplied increasing numbers of world record-sized fish to adjacent recreational fisheries since the 1970s.
But try to tell that to lobby groups like the Recreational Fishing Alliance. The RFA and their allies (marina owners, charter captains, and, ironically enough for them, commercial fishermen) fight MPAs tooth and nail, even though the reserves work to increase the size and probably the numbers of their favored species. They’ve got a case that MPAs should be based on sound science, of course, but the rhetoric often gets so overblown that it just starts to sound like their being told that they can’t fish a certain area is far worse than catching more and bigger fish, elsewhere. Go figure.
Not waiting for the feds or fishermen to come to their senses, an alliance of ocean groups has just released an ad spot (an MPA PSA!) calling for establishment of marine reserves along the Southern California coast. MPAs here would benefit all sorts of marine life from octopus to seals, abalone to otters.
Heal the Bay, Surfrider Foundation, Save Our Coast and Shifting Baselines all had a hand in producing it, and it’s got some star power: Bond sexy-man Pierce Brosnan, a guy from Scrubs I like, and some other people. It’s for a campaign simply titled MPAs Work. ‘Nuff said.
If the spot makes Joe Television stop and watch, it’s a great message to get into the collective earhole:
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