Skip to main content

Kingdom of Tonga - Special Management Area Report 2020

In 2016 a partnership was developed between the Tongan Ministry of Fisheries and James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. Its aim was to implement the first stage of a Tongan national coral reef monitoring project, and to provide an overview of the current status of Tonga’s Special Management Area (SMA) program. Since 2002 the Ministry of Fisheries has been heavily focused on expanding the SMA program, and communities throughout Tonga have been enthusiastic about introducing local marine management. As a result of this momentum, the Ministry has focused primarily on implementation.

Unwanted networks: Vessel traffic heightens the risk of invasions in marine protected areas

Invasive species pose a significant threat to a primary objective of marine conservation, protecting native biodiversity. To-date, research quantifying invasion risk to marine protected areas (MPAs) is limited despite potential negative consequences. As a first step towards identifying invasion risk to MPAs via vessel ballast or biofouling, we evaluated vessel traffic patterns by applying graph-theoretic concepts for 1346 vessels that connected invaded areas (‘invasion nodes’) along the Northeast Pacific coast to MPAs within Canadian waters in 2016.

Data-driven approach for highlighting priority areas for protection in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction

One of the aims of the United Nations (UN) negotiations on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) is to develop a legal process for the establishment of area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, in ABNJ. Here we use a conservation planning algorithm to integrate 55 global data layers on ABNJ species diversity, habitat heterogeneity, benthic features, productivity, and fishing as a means for highlighting priority regions in ABNJ to be considered for spatial protection.