The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI) has released an online GIS database of maps on environmental and economic change in the coastal and marine zones of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. The Coral Triangle (CT) Atlas presents decades worth of fisheries, biodiversity, natural resources and socio-economic information. The Atlas was developed through a collaboration between WorldFish, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and was supported by the US Government's US CTI Support Program.
On Wednesday August 7th, 2013 Haiti's Council of Ministers announced the creation of the "Protected Area of Natural Resources Management of Port Salut/Aquin (Aire Protégée de Ressources Naturelles Gérées de Port Salut/Aquin)" located in southwestern Haiti. It is composed of five zoned sites enclosed within an area covering a total of close to 150,000 hectares and includes mixed marine and terrestrial sites.
The government of Thailand has designated two new Wetlands of International Importance for the Ramsar List, two small archipelago systems with coral reefs lying offshore of opposite sides of the country. Their new status will take effect as of 12 August. As Ramsar's Ms Nessrine Alzahlawi describes them, based on Thailand's Ramsar Information Sheets, Ko Kra Archipelago (374 hectares) consists of three remote and relatively undisturbed small rocky islets in the southern area of the Gulf of Thailand, about 53 km east of the mainland. About 66 hectares around the archipelago are covered by an extensive coral reef, with a total of 67 species of hard coral, the highest coral diversity recorded in the Gulf of Thailand.
The 25th Session of the International Co-ordinating Council (ICC) of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme has added 12 sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Biosphere Reserves are sites chosen by the MAB Programme to experiment with different approaches to the management of terrestrial, marine and coastal resources, and freshwater. They also serve as in situ laboratories for sustainable development.
1 June 2013: In a new guidebook on vulnerability assessments and early action planning at the local level, the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) provides a framework for helping local communities prepare for climate change adaptation planning, understand climate change impacts, conduct a vulnerability assessment and develop local action plans.
Gland, Switzerland, 12 June 2013 (IUCN news release) - Most species at greatest risk from climate change are not currently conservation priorities, finds an IUCN study that introduces a pioneering method to assess the vulnerability of species to climate change.
The paper, published in the journal PLOS ONE, is one of the biggest studies of its kind, assessing all of the world's birds, amphibians and corals. It draws on the work of more than 100 scientists over a period of five years.
This circular examines the vulnerability of coral reef social-ecological communities to one effect of climate change, coral bleaching. The objective was to develop and test in Kenya a community-level vulnerability assessment approach that incorporated both ecological and socio-economic dimensions of vulnerability in order to target and guide interventions to reduce vulnerability. In addition to a range of direct threats such as siltation, overfishing and coral disease, coral reefs are now threatened by climate change.
Gland, Switzerland, 28 April 2013 - At least 12% of groupers - globally-important food fish species that live on coral and rocky reefs - face extinction, putting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people around the world at risk, finds a report published today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission's (IUCN SSC) Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group.
An international team of scientists has recently adopted a 'consensus statement' which assesses the current state of knowledge, and identifies knowledge gaps on coral reef physiology and reproduction. Successful reproduction processes in corals are essential to maintain, renew and restore coral colonies. However, these processes are highlysensitive to various environmental stressors (including impacts of climate change) and these stresses tend to divert their energy away from growth and reproduction. The statement aims to draw attention internationally on this worrying trend, and calls for action at local levels to reduce these threats. The consensus statement is available in both English and French.
The offshore Sistema de Humedales de la Isla de Utila (16,226 hectares, 16o06’00”N 085o56’14”W) comprises the Bahía Islands Marine Park, which includes two Marine Special Protection Zones and one Wildlife Refuge. The importance of the site, which includes the Isla de Utila and surrounding waters, is based on its diverse and interdependent ecosystems, which are part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and include coral reefs, marine grasses, mangroves, swamps, coastal lakes, rocky shores, hypersaline shallow waters, and floodplains, as well as above and below ground karstic systems.
CITES plenary today accepted Committee recommendations to list five species of highly traded sharks under the CITES Appendices, along with those for the listing of both manta rays and one species of sawfish. Japan, backed by Gambia and India, unsuccessfully challenged the Committee decision to list the oceanic whitetip shark, while Grenada and China failed in an attempt to reopen debate on listing three hammerhead species. Colombia, Senegal, Mexico and others took the floor to defend Committee decisions to list sharks.
Palau's president has proposed banning all commercial fishing in the Pacific nation's waters to create one of the world's largest marine reserves, covering an area roughly the size of France.
President Tommy Remengesau, who was elected last November, says a commercial fishing ban could help Palau earn more money from tourism than it currently gets from tuna fleets.
He says his vision is for an area "so well protected" that Palau would become the world's largest marine sanctuary. "No longer will Palau be merely a shark sanctuary, it will be a sea sanctuary that protects all marine wildlife within Palau's exclusive economic zone (EEZ)," President Remengesau said.
Palau won international acclaim when it created the world's first shark sanctuary in 2009.
26 February 2013: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported on the impacts of the La Niña phenomenon in 2010-2011, which caused a massive ocean heatwave in the Indian Ocean, more than 10,000 km off of Australia’s western coast.
Feb. 25, 2013 — In a study published February 24 in Nature Climate Change researchers used the latest emissions scenarios and climate models to show how varying levels of carbon emissions are likely to result in more frequent and severe coral bleaching events.
The 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly has once again recognised the importance of our Partnership by “reiterating its support” to ICRI in the resolution entitled Oceans and the law of the Sea adopted on 11 December 2012.
20 February 2013: The Second Signatory State Meeting for the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range (Dugong MoU) convened from 19-20 February, in Manila, the Philippines, acknowledged progress in the conservation of the dugong, while four new Signatories – Bangladesh, Egypt, Somalia and Sudan – joined the MoU.
Montreal, 18 February 2013 – In response to the call for champions in support of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Republic of Maldives has pledged to become the first nation where the entire country and its Exclusive Economic Zone will be a Biosphere Reserve.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is calling on Pacific communities to assist with ongoing efforts to track over 15,000 sea turtles in the region. Communities are asked to report turtle sightings, along with turtle tracking information to SPREP.
The government of the Netherlands has designated three new coastal and near-coastal Wetlands of International Importance, with coral reefs, on the Netherlands Antilles island of Curaçao, a constitutent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in the Leeward Antilles 70km north of Venezuela.
The Parque Nacional Manglares del Bajo Yuna (77,518 hectares, 19º10’12”N 069º40’48”W) has been named as the Dominican Republic’s third Wetland of International Importance, effective as of World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2013. A large subtropical coastal wetland, with estuarine characteristics, predominance of mangroves, and many watercourses, it is located in the Samaná Bay, the largest semi-closed bay in the Caribbean, which contains a specific salinity gradient capable of supporting a great mosaic of habitats. It is also important by being part of karst systems and springs.
The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) has reported on an upcoming mangrove rehabilitation and replanting project in two of the Marshall Islands’ wetlands of international importance, Namdrik and Jaluit Atolls.
New York (December 5, 2012) — The Wildlife Conservation Society congratulates Madagascar’s Ministry of Fisheries and local communities around Ankarea Marine Protected Area (MPA) for working together to eliminate illegal sea cucumber harvesting from an area known for highest coral species richness in the Western Indian Ocean.