Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Marine Protected Areas - Yes We Can!

I ran across an article that gave me hope. The article talks about how California is protecting it’s coast. However, this didn’t happen over night. In fact the message is that it takes years for a comprehensive Marine Protected Areas strategy to develop and be implemented. California’s Central Coast is an example of how national legislation bears fruit, and can provide clarity on the meaning and establishment of Marine Protected Areas.

It was 2001 when President Clinton legislated the creation of the National Marine Protected Areas Center. Basically, this legislation allowed for the development of a common set of standards that define what a Marine Protected Area is. Like Canada, the US had a myriad of local, state, and tribal laws all affecting the ocean and fresh water. The complexity resulted in a lack of accountability.

The situation facing the Americans in 2001 is no different than what we have in Canada where for example there are currently 11 types of MPAs in BC managed by federal, provincial and municipal agencies. These include designations such as Provincial Parks, Ecological Reserves, Migratory Bird Reserves, Marine Parks, Wildlife Management Areas … all with varying levels of protection monitored by different agencies.

“At the center of the US national MPA plan is a list of goals and conservation objectives that will be applied to every body of water that is in line to become an MPA. That plan sets near-term goals, as well as mid- and long-term goals concerning natural, cultural and sustainable resources. It also sets specific standards for drawing physical boundaries, determining uses and defining types of protection.”

Of course everybody isn’t happy, but now it’s clear who to voice complaints to and how things get resolved. We can do the same here in Canada and in BC this means proceeding with PNCIMA.

See the article:

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