Marine Protected Areas on the Rise

Written by on October 15, 2012 in Marine Life, Policy & Ocean Law
Reef in a MPA with school of bluestripe snapper (Lutjanus kasmira). Photo credit: David Burdick, NOAA Photo Library.

Reef in MPA with school of bluestripe snapper (Lutjanus kasmira). Photo credit: David Burdick, NOAA Photo Library.

A new report to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity states that 8.3 million square kilometers are now protected.  While this number is only 2.3 percent of the global ocean area, it represents a ten-fold increase in Marine Protected Areas over the last decade.

The global goal, determined at the 2004 Convention on Biological Diversity, is to have 10 percent of the world’s oceans protected by the year 2020.  Until recently, this number looked highly unrealistic; however, the rapid growth occurring over the last decade suggests that it might actually be possible.

“This is great news in the sense that the prospect looked so hopeless until recently.  We really should manage to meet the 10% target now,” Nature Conservancy‘s Mark Spalding told BBC News.

Examples of new MPAs

Spalding, the lead author of the report, continued to explain that “we have to ask whether the targets in themselves are enough – or whether governments need to be smarter to ensure that they’re protecting the very most important areas.”

To learn more, check out these Reports from the Convention:

According to NOAA, the majority MPAs in the US allow human uses, including fishing, swimming and kayaking. Photo credit: NOAA.

According to NOAA, the majority MPAs in the US allow human uses, including fishing, swimming and kayaking. Photo credit: NOAA.

Read this article from the BBC: Marine Protected Areas increase 10-fold in a decade

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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