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Marine Resources


August 2015 Issue

Survey of US Southeast Deepwater MPAs
FAU Harbor Branch Research Professor John Reed and biological scientist Stephanie Farrington have returned from the Mayport Naval Base in Jacksonville, Florida, where they met the NOAA ship Pisces for a two-week cruise funded by NOAA Fisheries and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

They mapped and surveyed the deepwater Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) off the southeastern U.S., from Florida to North Carolina.

Also surveyed were various sites within the Oculina Habitat Area of Particular Concern (OHAPC).

These MPAs and HAPC are designated as Essential Habitat for corals and fish, especially snapper and grouper that use these shelf-edge reefs for spawning grounds.

The damage done to these reefs since the 1970s is clearly visible. In the closed areas, there is some recovery, which is expected to continue with a strongly enforced ban on bottom trawls and poaching within the closed OECA area.

92 Teams Submit Technical Description of WECs to DOE
Wave energy enthusiasts from industry and academia have formed 92 teams to move toward the first milestone of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wave Energy Prize.

This design-build-test competition is encouraging the development of game-changing wave energy conversion (WEC) devices that will achieve the DOE’s goal of doubling energy capture, thus reducing the cost of wave energy and making it more competitive with traditional energy solutions.

The prize purse totals more than $2 million.

The teams had to submit a technical description of their concepts in July, which will be reviewed by a panel of expert judges. Based on this, up to 20 of the top teams will be named qualified teams in an announcement scheduled for mid-August.

Qualified teams will build a 1/50th-scale model and will participate in small-scale tank testing for validation of their design concepts. Finalist teams, which will be announced in March 2016, will have the opportunity to receive seed money to build 1/20th-scale WEC prototypes that will undergo tank testing at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping Basin at Carderock, Maryland, beginning summer 2016.

Ocean Assets Under Threat Total $24 Trillion
The value of the ocean’s riches rivals the size of the world’s leading economies, but its resources are rapidly eroding, according to a report released by WWF. “Reviving the Ocean Economy: The case for action - 2015” analyzes the ocean’s role as an economic powerhouse and outlines the threats that are moving it toward collapse.

The value of key ocean assets is conservatively estimated in the report to be at least $24 trillion. If compared to the world’s top 10 economies, the ocean would rank seventh.

The report, produced in association with The Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), is the most focused review yet of the ocean’s asset base.

More than two-thirds of the annual value of the ocean relies on healthy conditions to maintain its annual economic output. Collapsing fisheries, mangrove deforestation and disappearing corals and seagrass are threatening the marine economic engine that secures lives and livelihoods worldwide.

The report presents an eight-point action plan that would restore ocean resources to their full potential, including embedding ocean recovery throughout the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, taking global action on climate change, and making good on strong commitments to protect coastal and marine areas.

UNESCO Wants to Keep Close Watch on Great Barrier Reef
IUCN’s advice to continue close monitoring of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef was adopted at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn, Germany. The World Heritage Committee has requested Australia to report in two years on progress made in implementing the new Great Barrier Reef 2050 sustainability plan, including information on secured investment. In five years, Australia must also present a formal report to the committee on the effectiveness of the plan. According to IUCN, which is the official advisory body on nature to the committee, the Great Barrier Reef is facing major challenges due to climate change, poor water quality and impacts from coastal development. Australia’s 2050 sustainability plan for the reef proposes a range of actions in response to these threats, such as reducing pollution, restricting port development, and permanently banning dumping of dredged material within the reef.

AXYS Joins NORCOWE On Offshore Wind R&D
AXYS Technologies Inc. has joined the Norwegian Centre for Offshore Wind Energy (NORCOWE) to further the shared goal of developing innovative and cost-efficient offshore wind solutions for deep waters and harsh offshore environments.

Specific areas of common interest include R&D initiatives that will explore the use of floating lidar to measure turbulence intensity, test power performance, trial and validate novel measurement systems, and develop environmental baselines.

Canada Advances Marine Protected Areas
The Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs have reached a new step toward their designation as Marine Protected Areas. The proposed Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs Marine Protected Areas Regulations were open for a 30-day public comment period that ended July 26. These glass sponge reefs have existed since the Jurassic Period. They provide refuge, habitat and nursery grounds for many aquatic species. The protection of this area directly coincides with Canada’s priority to strengthen marine and coastal conservation. The National Conservation Plan, launched in 2014, included $37 million over five years for marine and coastal conservation.


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