What with resource extractions including over-fishing, nutrient run-off, bioaccumulation in animals of pollutants, invasive species, ocean acidification, climate change and greenhouse gas build-up, right now would be the opportune time for ecosystem-based adaptive management and a national system of marine protected areas.
Part of our solution for healthy oceans is a national system of marine protected areas. With so many different types and forms of marine protected areas, a national system will require collaboration with federal agencies, as well as coastal states and territories, tribes, Federal Fishery Management Councils, and other entities, as appropriate, including the MPA Federal Advisory Council.
The Revised Draft Framework for Developing the National System of MPAs calls for the development of a framework that is comprehensive and inclusive of managers and user groups. It establishes the National MPA Center within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to lead its development and implementation.
By working together rather than separately, individual MPAs or MPA programs will better meet their goals. Existing authorities, jurisdictions or control will not be altered. Yet, many solutions require collaboration across programs with their own individual mandates, levels of government, and even internationally.
You may assist ORI in advancing a national system of marine protected areas by adding your name and comments to our letter to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Our letter to NOAA will serve as testimony for collaborative and comprehensive environmental decision-making and as proof of a great number of ocean literate citizens savvy to and knowledgeable of ocean management.