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Scientists Support Marine Protected Areas

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We are calling on you to join the Scientists Letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation urging the United States government to maintain existing marine protections for U.S. waters. The Committee on Commerce will hold a hearing on marine protected areas in the first half of May. We have a brief window of opportunity to generate support for marine protected areas and we need your signature advocating for the utility of strongly protected marine reserves. Please consider adding your name to this letter, https://marine-conservation.org/scientists-mpa-letter-2017/

You may be aware that the Trump Administration issued two executive orders last week to review and recommend changes to recent monuments and sanctuaries. These E.O.s are clearly aimed at opening up previously protected areas to commercial extraction: oil and gas, mining, and/or fishing.

Our goal is to reach 1,000 signatures by the end of the first week of May, but we need your help. Please share this letter with your marine your scientists colleagues and ask them to join our call to U.S. decision-makers.

The first executive order asks the Department of Interior to review all land and marine monuments established since 1996 to make sure they: are the minimum area sufficient to protect the intended resources; have properly balanced multiple uses, including resource extraction; and have very strong public support.The second executive order starts the process of opening up vast areas of the Arctic ocean and Atlantic seaboard that had been placed off limits to offshore drilling by President Obama and orders that any marine sanctuaries created or expanded in the last ten years be reviewed.


Text of Letter:

Honorable Chairman Dan Sullivan, Honorable Ranking Member Gary Peters, Members of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard and all Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation:

Marine life and the essential ecological services that oceans provide are increasingly threatened by a variety of human activities. Marine scientists recognize the important role that strongly-protected marine reserves play in conserving marine life and benefiting fish populations.

In 2001, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis outlined the striking ecological benefits for marine life within and outside of strongly-protected reserves and the effects of ecological networks in its “Scientific Consensus Statement on Marine Reserves and Marine Protected Areas” (Appendix 1). Since then, extensive scientific literature has provided additional compelling evidence that strongly-protected marine reserves are powerful ways of conserving biodiversity. In addition, strongly-protected reserves can create jobs and bring in new economic revenue through ecotourism and enhancement of local fisheries through spillover beyond reserve boundaries. Finally, strongly-protected reserves provide resilience against the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification. Whereas the unprotected ocean is like a debit account where everybody withdraws and nobody deposits, marine reserves are like savings accounts that produce interest we can live off.

In light of the growing impacts that humans are having on our marine ecosystems and the fisheries they support, we, the undersigned scientists, call on the United States government to maintain existing ocean protections and to increase protections for diverse habitats across all biogeographic regions of U.S. ocean waters. Strongly-protected reserves will help provide the resilience needed to ensure the continued health and productivity of America’s oceans.

Enric Sala, PhD National Geographic Society
Sylvia Earle, PhD Mission Blue and National Geographic Society
Paul Dayton, PhD University of California San Diego
Oran Young, PhD Bren School University of California Santa Barbara
Daniel Pauly, PhD University of British Columbia
Steve Murray, PhD California State University Fullerton
Ellen K. Pikitch, PhD Stony Brook University
Callum Roberts, PhD University of York
Elliott Norse, PhD Marine Conservation Institute
Rashid Sumaila, PhD University of British Columbia
Carl Safina, PhD The Safina Center (formerly Blue Ocean Institute)
Stuart Pimm, PhD Duke University
…and many others!

Click here to add your voice to the letter

This announcement was originally posted on the Waterbird Society's website. View the full announcement.
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