MARINE PROTECTED AREA DESIGNATED OFF SOGWIPO
ۼ : Ralf Deutsch (bigblue33jeju@yahoo.com)    http://www.bigblue33.co.kr from 211.228.93.145
ۼ : 2002/12/12 13:11
ȸ : 5890
MARINE PROTECTED AREA DESIGNATED OFF SOGWIPO

Hello fellow divers,

last week, December 5th and 6th, I was at a workshop held in
Sogwipo on the management of the newly designated
Sogwipo Marine Protected Area. The workshop was hosted by
the Korean Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
(MOMAF) and the US American National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They had invited the
local Sogwipo government, Jeju National University, the Korea
Ocean Research and Development Institute, environmental
groups, local dive shops, the submarine operator in Sogwipo
and other stakeholders and interest groups.

I learned that the sea off Sogwipo including the islets of
Supsom, Munsom and Pomsom had been designated a
Marine Protected Area (MPA) by the Korean Ministry of
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and that part of it is being
investigated by the UNESCO to become a Biosphere Reserve
Area.

Presentations were given by speakers from NOAA who
explained how they manage their MPAs in Monterey, the
Channel Islands, and in Hawaii. The Korean speakers
explained scientific, legal, economic and political aspects of
designating and managing an MPA in Korea. Some speakers
identified threats to a healthy eco-system in the MPA such as:
suspended material from construction work (extension of the
harbor`s breakwater), pollution from wastewater,
unsustainable fishing, recreational divers breaking coral and
bringing up silt (poor buoyancy control , sic!), the tour-
submarine (being the main factor to destroy coral and other
benthic marine life as it touches the ground), littering from
commercial fishing boats, etc.

Being the only place in Korea where tropical and subtropical
marine life can be found in abundance there was little dispute
that the area is worth protecting. The big question though was
how this can be achieved and how the MPA can be managed
successfully. I got the impression that there are good
intentions but not much of a concrete plan yet and that
qualified input is appreciated.

I do not expect that activities in the MPA such as commercial
and recreational fishing, recreational diving and boating will be
sanctioned anytime soon but there will be some educational
campaigns to educate users and give them some idea what
they can do. The ministry seems to have plans for a visitor`s
center where local people, tourists and schools can learn
about the ocean.

The general idea is to gain higher acceptance from
stakeholders and local residents by an educational and,
therefore slow, process that changes their way of thinking
about the ocean towards conservation. This will not change
the situation of conservation right on the spot but it is a good
and reasonable start.

I myself will try to start an initiative together with other local
dive shops in order to show what we divers can do to reduce
pressure on the environment. If you wish to contribute
anything on the subject of Jeju`s newly designated MPA, why
dont you write me a mail?

I wish you good and safe diving. Take care

Ralf Deutsch
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