What If 45% of the Planet Became a Marine Protected Area?

Written by on February 27, 2014 in Policy & Ocean Law

At the World Ocean Summit held in California this week, the Global Ocean Commission previewed some of the “radical ideas” for reforming ocean governance that the Commission is considering. The reforms focus on major threats to the oceans, including acidification, overfishing, plastic pollution and, perhaps most importantly, poor governance.

Open ocean.

Open ocean. Photo credit: Emily Tripp.

Currently, there are about 50 international and regional organizations sharing authority over the oceans, but the Global Ocean Commission believes this “patchwork quilt” doesn’t work and should be replaced with a single governing body.

One of the most radical suggestions being considered is the idea of declaring the high seas a Marine Protected Area. The high seas is the portion of the global ocean outside national jurisdiction, which covers more than 45% of the planet.

Global Ocean Commission co-Chair José María Figueres said that this idea “may be too ambitious, but the state of degradation of the ocean today requires ambitious proposals if we are to restore full ocean health and full recovery.”

Learn more here: Should the high seas be declared an MPA?

Copyright © 2014 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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