COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION
THREE COUNTRIES WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT OUR SHARED ENVIRONMENT
In the Gulf of the Fallarones National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of San Francisco, the warming effects of climate change have brought in a new predator: Humboldt squid. These creatures normally reside in warm waters, but are moving into the more temperate waters of the Fallarones.
“We’re concerned because these large squid eat a lot of food, including juvenile rockfish, which are a very important species for our commercial fishery,” said Maria Brown, superintendent of the Gulf of the Fallarones National Marine Sanctuary.
Over the past year, the CEC collaborated with the North American Marine Protected Area Network (NAMPAN) and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to develop the first synthesis of climate change impacts on marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks, based on the best available scientific knowledge. Released in summer 2012, the resulting Scientific Guidelines for Designing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks in a Changing Climate identify several expected effects of climate‐driven change, including shifts in species’ distribution like that of the large squid.
Marine protected area network managers have also developed a companion guide: Practitioner’s Manual for Designing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks in a Changing Climate, to be published in autumn 2012. This manual provides management tools and solutions to address climate change impacts, including re-evaluating MPA boundaries or designing MPA networks to provide resilience in the face of a changing climate.
The CEC’s trinational work is essential for migratory species that cannot be adequately protected in just one country, to enhance collaboration on MPA networks, and most importantly to share information among North American partners. To support this approach, NAMPAN also collaborated this year with Coastal America's Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers (CELC)—a network of aquariums and research facilities—to create a series of short films that highlight the vital role played by North America’s marine protected areas. Released in June 2012, these films are being shown in aquariums and marine protected areas and will be featured at IMAX/4D-Simex theaters across the continent.
For more information, visit www.cec.org/mpa.