Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Scientists call for large ocean wilderness parks

by ARC Center of Excellence on 19 Apr 2013
Coral reefs protection is currently being pushed by leading scientist ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies © http://www.coralcoe.org.au/
Leading international marine scientists have called for the protection of more, large marine wilderness areas in a bid to shield the world’s dwindling stocks of fish from destruction.

Working in the world’s largest unfished marine reserve, the remote Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean, scientists from Australia and the US have shown there is a dramatic difference in the numbers, size and variety of fish compared with smaller marine parks.

Their findings in two new reports provide the world’s first clear evidence that large-scale marine wilderness reserves are better for conserving fish than the far more common, small marine protected areas (MPAs) that many governments and fishing communities are presently implementing.

'The bottom line is that we found six times more fish in the Chagos ‘no take’ area than we did in even the best-managed Marine Reserves elsewhere in the Indian Ocean,' says lead author of the reports, Dr Nick Graham of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.

'There was also a dramatic difference in types of species that dominate with a far richer variety of predatory and large-bodied fish species with big home ranges in the Chagos,' adds his colleague, Dr. Tim McClanahan, of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Reef shot

Coral cover in the Chagos area was almost complete, having recovered rapidly from a major bleaching episode, in 1998.



The Chagos Archipelago, also known as the British Indian Ocean Territory, and its entire 640,000 square kilometre area was designated a no-take zone in April 2010, making it the largest such marine reserve in the world. It is in the central Indian Ocean due south of the Maldives.

'In recent times there have been bold moves by nations such as Britain, Australia and the United States to set aside much larger areas of open ocean in an effort to try to conserve fish stocks that appear to be dwindling all around the planet,' Dr Graham explains.

'What wasn’t clearly known before now was whether there is a significant difference in conservation impact of large remote unfished reserves of 1000s of square kilometers, as opposed to the much smaller ones of tens of square kilometers that are typical of populated coastlines. Well, now we know the answer.'

Reef shark

The researchers say it is important to have large areas of oceans protected from human impacts, not only to preserve fish stocks and protect vulnerable marine species – but also as an undisturbed baseline for understanding the changes that human population pressures and climate change are bringing to the oceans as a whole.



'There seems little doubt that formal legislative protection of some of the world’s last remaining marine ‘wilderness’ locations, such as the Chagos protected area, is a critical step to maintaining some near-pristine legacy areas in the oceans,' they say.

The researchers acknowledge that marine reserves closer to centres of human population require different kinds of management and need to be smaller, to ensure that people can still draw their livelihoods and food from the sea – and these smaller marine reserves also provide important conservation gains.

As world fish stocks decline, large remote wilderness reserves require careful protection against plundering by illegal and ‘pirate’ fishing concerns.

'Clearly marine wilderness does promote a unique ecological community, which smaller no-take areas fail to attain, and formal legislation is therefore critical to protect these last marine wilderness areas,' the scientists conclude.

Their findings and comments are in a new scientific article 'The last call for marine wilderness?' by Nick Graham and Tim McClanahan in the journal Bioscience, and a chapter by Nick Graham, Morgan Pratchett, Tim McClanahan and Shaun Wilson in a forthcoming book, Coral Reefs of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (Springer ARC Center of Excellence

InSunSport - NZNaiad/Oracle SupplierColligo Marine 660x82

Related Articles

Alinghi pull off incredible comeback to take Act 6 in Madeira
Swiss team Alinghi came back from a dismasting to win Act 6 of Extreme Sailing Series™ in extraordinary circumstances Swiss team Alinghi came back from a dismasting to win Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in extraordinary circumstances on the waters of Portugal’s Madeira Islands.
Posted today at 3:39 am
It’s Chuck’s fault!
The blame rests squarely with the much venerated, and truly celebrated US sports photographer, Chuck Lantz The blame rests squarely with the much venerated, and truly celebrated US sports photographer, Chuck Lantz. Had he not shown me this image he took during the recent Rolex Big Boat Series on San Francisco Bay, then this editorial would not have come to pass.
Posted today at 2:36 am
Oman Air stay top of Extreme Sailing Series table with podium place
Oman Air stayed top of the overall leaderboard after posting a third place in Act six and shifted focus to the next Act. Oman Air stayed top of the overall leaderboard after posting a third place in Act six in Madeira and immediately shifted their focus to the next Act in Lisbon, Portugal, in two weeks.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Norauto foils to victory at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Racing in a light wind Minoprio’s desire to win the leeward position on the start line put Norauto in front in all races Racing in a light westerly Levante wind, Adam Minoprio’s desire to win the leeward position on the start line put Norauto in front in all three races, and he went on to win two of them.
Posted on 25 Sep
Team Tilt finish second at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Team Tilt added a second place to scoreboard this weekend at the penultimate event of what has been a successful season The seven crew members on board the 32-foot flying catamaran posted three outright wins from 15 races to finish second overall after Adam Minoprio on Norauto. Team Engie, skippered by Sebastien Rogues finished in third place.
Posted on 25 Sep
Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge - Images from Régates Royales
The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales. The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales with classic yachts and Dragons. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this gallery of images from the penultimate day of the regatta.
Posted on 25 Sep
Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge - More images from Régates Royales
Second gallery from the final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge at Cannes The 38th Régates Royales, the final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this second gallery of images from the penultimate day.
Posted on 25 Sep
World Sailing - Henderson sets out foundations of his President bid
Paul Henderson is standing for another term as President to get some significant and vital issues facing Sailing address Paul Henderson is standing for another term as President to get some significant and vital issues facing Sailing addressed by sailors with their input both individually and via their International Class Associations. Henderson sets out below what he believes will be the foundations of his next Presidency.
Posted on 25 Sep
World Sailing President nominated by 45 Member National Associations
Incumbent World Sailing President, Carlo Croce (ITA) has welcomed nominations from 45 Member National Associations Incumbent World Sailing President, Carlo Croce (ITA) has nominations from 45 Member National Associations [MNAs] for his re-election as the President of Sailing’s International Federation. Nominations for the position of President have been formally published by World Sailing and show widespread support for Croce.
Posted on 25 Sep