Conference on Assessing the Global Impact of Marine Debris on Marine Mammals – 2008

NOAA hosts the first global conference on marine mammal protected areas (MPAs), including a combination of invited and competitive presentations on specific issues and topics of concern to the managers of marine mammal MPAs.

Project Abstract

This conference, held in 2008 and coordinated by NOAA staff from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was built around the overall theme of “networks: making connections.” This theme was explored in three conference threads focusing on (1) design, (2) management and (3) networking for the future of MMPAs and MMPA networks. These thematic strands were realized through a combination of talks and panels in a plenary symposium, followed by workshops, training sessions, posters and films. The first symposium thread on design of MMPAs and MMPA networks established that there were a growing number of MMPAs but that their effective coverage of important or critical habitat remains slight.   For the second thread, the group agreed that many MMPAs had not established effective management plans with monitoring regimes at the time of the meeting.  An effective MMPA, was defined as a zone where management was continuous, science‐based, incorporating ecosystem‐based management as well as socioeconomic concerns and larger environmental issues, particularly fisheries, and include public participation with educational programs.  The third thread discussed the overall future for MMPA’s, including conversations regarding the challenges involved in identifying critical ocean habitats/zones outside of established MMPAs as well as challenges associated with monitoring mobile MMPA’s over space and time.

Overall, the group reached consensus that MPA designers, planners and managers must continue to engage stakeholders, indigenous peoples, and the public through partnership, consultation, education and outreach to build constituencies of support for MPA networks.  Furthermore, MMPA networks should continue to expand, and various elements were proposed to facilitate this expansion.

NOAA Marine Debris Program Project

1/1/2008 to 7/31/2009

Status: Closed

Location: Pacific Islands, [Hawaii]

Latitude/Longitude: 20.689973, -156.439224