One Rx for Memory Loss: MPAs

i-f0c685fe624b0fb1a934bbe87b1c5a2c-NatGeo.jpgThis month, National Geographic ran an issue on overfishing. In the article on marine protected areas (MPAs), Blue Haven, shifting baselines is discussed, though not explicitly, by the article's author and Bill Ballantine, the director of the University of Aukland Marine Laboratory in New Zealand.

Marine reserves are an antidote to this collective amnesia. They provide a scientific benchmark against which changes in the wider ocean--the exploited ocean--can be measured. "If nothing is left intact or pristine, how can you know that damage has occurrred?" Ballantine asks. Indeed, how do you even imagine an undamaged state?

Louisa Wood, a graduate student at the UBC Fisheries Centre, has compiled a global database of MPAs and shown that only 0.6% of the oceans are under protection as compared to 12% on land. Less than 0.1% of the oceans are actually closed to fishing. The Shifting Baselines Ocean Media Project has raised awareness of MPAs with PSAs and other media. MPAs provide a memory of the past and are an esstential part of the prescription to cure ocean amnesia.


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Yes, remedy for memory loss. See what you think of this prescription, central California's shiny new network of MPAs:

Friday, April 13, 2007
California protects ocean ecosystems

posted at blogfish:…

Marine Protected Areas are becomming a tool of choice for conserving ocean ecosystems. Today, California joined the Northwest Hawaiian Islands as home to the first solid networks of MPAs in the US.

Along with the overfishing ban passed recently in the US Congress, these MPAs promise to restore ocean ecosystem health.

A key role of MPAs is to provide unfished areas to demonstrate what our oceans might be like without fishing. That's something worth knowing. Too many ocean areas are sadly depleted, and for some places there is nobody left alive who knows what's gone missing. Ask a young person in southern California whether they've ever seen an abalone in a tide pool.

The California Fish and Wildlife Commission voted this morning to create a network of Marine Protected Areas along California's central coast. Some areas will ban all fishing and others will allow some types of fishing or resource use (e.g. kelp harvest).

This after hearing from fishermen, scientists, conservationists, divers, boaters, and other concerned people. The lengthy processes sought to balance the interests of all concerned, and everybody was forced to accept something other than their preferences.

Thanks to the Commissioners for their courageous action, and thanks to Republican Governor Schwarzenegger for his bold leadership of this process. Conservation need not be a partisan issue; this Republican governor has done more for ocean health than his Democratic predecessor, Gray Davis.

You'll read about this elsewhere tomorrow, but you saw it here first!!

I think people differ greatly on this issue. For example, if it were completely unidentifiable as my own, I would have no problem with a picture of my naked ass being posted on the Internet. Others would be absolutely horrified by the prospect.