Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Dinghy Wetsuits

Marine Protected Areas - where conservation meets recreation

by K. Shugart-Schmidt, Sailors for the Sea on 13 Oct 2013
Sailors for the Sea - healthy waters are getting scarcer .. .
Most recreational boaters enjoy the challenge of cruising in the open ocean, using their considerable skills and wonderful boats to surmount all the problems that ocean and weather can throw at them.

When near shore or in port, we all want to be in a beautiful place with ample underwater resources to be explored. Swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing are activities that everyone enjoys when at anchor. But enjoying these aquatic pursuits is increasingly at risk because the oceans are changing, and not for the better.


In a recent report, respected marine scientists with the International Programme on the State of the Ocean tell us that our oceans and underwater environments are threatened by three accelerating global trends: ocean warming, ocean acidification, and nutrient overload, creating low oxygen dead zones. Imagine a world in thirty or forty years where the surface of the ocean may be a sparkling blue or green but when we part the waves we see jellyfish and seaweed. The vibrantly colored fish and stunning coral reefs are gone, big fish are gone and marine mammals are scarce. That world is where we are headed in many places unless we can get a handle on climate change, reduce nutrient runoff and overfishing, AND create Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that increase the overall health of specific areas of the ocean.

A great comparison, as we head into flu season, is that if you are going to be around germs it is much better to be healthy, exercised, and eating well rather than overstressed and exhausted. The same is true for the ocean. Creating Marine protected areas now will allow specific areas of the ocean to be healthier as they face rising temperatures and changes in pH levels.

However, Marine Protected Areas can do more than just protect the marine environment and wildlife in the future - the existing ones provide incredible benefits for recreational sailors TODAY!

One favorite in the Caribbean, the Dry Tortugas National Park, about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, is where almost 50,000 acres of land and ocean are protected to varying degrees from the impact of humans.

Under this protected status, populations of marine life and biological diversity have begun to recover in the Park and associated Ecological Research Area.

Activities for visitors include snorkeling, picnicking, bird watching, camping, scuba diving, saltwater fishing and kayaking. As the years roll by, the underwater treasures to be seen in the park will only increase in richness.

Another wonderful, well-protected MPA is off the island of Culebra, at the eastern end of Puerto Rico. The local fishermen’s association urged the creation of a no take reserve to protect the sensitive coral reef and sea grass that serve as a nursery for juvenile fish and as a refuge for larger ones.

Creating this MPA has preserved the biodiversity of the area and restored populations of larger fish and corals that are wonderful for snorkelers and divers. Other benefits for local inhabitants and visitors have flowed from the establishment of this MPA.

In small island communities, employment and financial stability can be hard to come by, and the increased fish populations have resulted in a more sustainable, profitable fishery for locals. (http://www.coralations.org/MPA). The no take reserve draws visitors, preserves a sensitive environment, and over time has increased the value of fisheries in surrounding areas.

These are two examples of the thousands of MPAs created around the world that recreational sailors can visit and enjoy, but they demonstrate how powerful MPAs can potentially be.

Unfortunately, some MPAs are 'paper parks' or parks-in-name only, where protective regulations and enforcement are minimal and many damaging activities continue. Varying regulations make a big difference in how beneficial a MPA is to the ocean.

MPAs that are well managed and enforced are recovering from previous abuse at faster rates. By choosing to visit fully protected MPAs the boating community can spread the message that they support stronger regulations.

To find where MPAs around the world are located, visit MPAtlas.org, which has maps, data, and protected status of almost all MPAs in existence. Much like the National Parks, MPAs offer a way to take a section of our ocean and save its beauty for future generations.

Take Action

You can make a difference. Follow these steps to create a positive future for the ocean.

1. Read further on the how MPAs heal oceans, especially coral reefs, in an http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0009278!open_source_scientific_journal. Can't take an actual trip? Visit some of the ocean’s prettiest places underwater right now with the http://catlinseaviewsurvey.com/surveys/caribbean/st-vincent-and-the-grenadines!Catlin_Seaview_Survey.

2. Sign a http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/oceans/marine-reserves/roadmap-to-recovery/!pledge showing your support of increasing MPAs worldwide.

3. Explore existing MPAs and plan your next trip by with www.MPAtlas.org.

About Sailors for the Sea:
Sailors for the Sea, which 'educates and engages the boating community in the worldwide protection of the oceans,' was the outcome of David Rockefeller Jnr's work on the Pew Oceans Commission, which identified profound and alarming ocean health issues.

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted today at 5:56 am
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
Pantaenius – Smooth sailing is more than a favourable weather forecast
Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia As Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia, we get to see why they continue to grow their happy crew of customers. Sitting down with Pantaenius Australia’s MD, Jamie MacPhail, you immediately get a sense that the smooth sailing is a direct result of both their unique product and the marketplace’s willingness to embrace the better mousetrap
Posted on 27 Apr
100 days to Rio, are there potholes and bumps ahead?
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for most crews.
Posted on 26 Apr
Is George Lucas a sailor?
He’s very famous for a lot of things, and justifiably so. One of them is Industrial Light and Magic He’s very famous for a lot of things, and justifiably so. One of them is Industrial Light and Magic, which has been instrumental in the making of many of the special effects that have made the digital world so impressive. Gone are the smears of Vaseline along the bottom edge of the clear filter to hide the trolley that was actually transporting Luke Skywalker’s Speeder, for instance.
Posted on 25 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Can World Sailing learn from dear old Oz?
Why just lay the drop sheets out and tape up the edges of the windows for a splash of paint Some time ago now, Sail-World proposed that ISAF had a really good opportunity at hand when it morphed into World Sailing (WS). Why just lay the drop sheets out and tape up the edges of the windows for a splash of paint, when you could bring out the jackhammers and do a proper reno??? A call was issued for 200,000 sets of goggles and earmuffs to be supplied and for the real work to be commenced.
Posted on 11 Apr
Henri Lloyd 50 YearsPantaenius - Worldwide SupportNaiad