The CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources will be holding a one-day workshop on Marine Protected Areas on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Fiesta Resort and Spa Saipan's Hibiscus Hall from 8am to 5pm. The core focus of this workshop is to provide an opportunity to share the CNMI's experience with its MPAs and to discuss how federal programs can assist in their management.
Marine protected areas have become a common tool in marine resource management, providing spillover effects of certain species of fishes and invertebrates, and additionally as a recreational draw with certain socioeconomic benefits to local communities.
Currently, there are seven MPAs across the CNMI, including the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, all of which vary in location, size, habitat type, and thus have differences in their effectiveness and utility in terms of fisheries resources and recreation. In addition, there are many areas that act as MPAs, with restricted fishing due to military activities (e.g. Farallon de Medinilla to the north and shipping anchorage on Saipan) and from natural hazards such as seasonal exclusion from inclement ocean conditions. As a result, the establishment, management and subsequent benefits and tradeoffs from MPAs are highly complex and not always straightforward.
The specific of this workshop will address the historical establishment of MPAs in the CNMI, discuss their benefits and tradeoffs, and to explore the means by which federal agencies can help in their management. The workshop will feature on-island and off-island marine resource experts such as Allen Tom, regional director of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Pacific Island Region, former CNMI House speakers Heinz Hofschneider and Tom Pangelinan, and other individuals who were instrumental in establishing MPAs within the CNMI.
Presentations will also be given on the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, MPA current research results and directions, and enforcement and challenges of MPAs both from the perspective of the CNMI and Guam.
The MPA workshop is open to the public and is funded through the CNMI DLNR and NOAA office or National Marine Sanctuaries, Pacific Islands Region.
For more information contact Francisco Villagomez at 664-6044 or email email@example.com. (DLNR)