Marine Protected Areas Work – Why Aren’t There More of Them?

Written by on October 23, 2013 in Policy & Ocean Law

Daily Summary

How climate change affects microbial life below the seafloor
Traces of microbial life found in sediments off the coast of Peru are helping researchers document how microbial ecosystems beneath the sea floor have responded to climate change over hundreds of thousands of years. The “Deep Biosphere” extends several hundred meters below the seafloor and is inhabited exclusively by microbes. Because this ecosystem is so deep, it is generally considered to be stable, but researchers know very little about how it developed over time. An analysis of drill-cores from the continental shelf of Peru revealed that the Deep Biosphere is much more dynamic than previously thought. To learn more about microbes in the ocean, read about the Biggest Crowdfunding Project in Marine Science History.

Coral reef in the Dry Tortugas National Park.

Coral reef in the Dry Tortugas National Park. Photo credit: NOAA

Marine Conservation Institute Announces the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) to Protect Marine Life Worldwide
Yesterday, Marine Conservation Institute announced the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES), a science-based strategy for advancing marine protected areas (MPAs) worldwide. MPAs are generally recognized as the most effective way to protect our oceans and conserver its resources, but less than two percent of the oceans are protected. GLORES is designed to “incentivize and accelerate” the creation of more MPAs around the world. For more about MPAs, check out this great piece from National Geographic, The Top Three Lessons From MPAs Worldwide, about the lessons learned during the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress, held in Marseille, France. First: MPAs around the world all start in a similar manner. Second: managers, conservationists and locals can all learn from each other’s experiences. Third: MPAs work.

Worldwide survey reveals public support for single global governance of our oceans
A survey conducted for the Global Ocean Commission found the majority of the world’s population believe that the international parts of the ocean should be governed by one organization. According to the survey, 74% agreed that “there needs to be one organization with overall responsibility for protecting international waters and the life in them.” That’s not the case right now — there is no organization with overall responsibility for conservation in the high seas. Instead, the high seas are managed under a ‘patchwork’ regime, with separate organizations managing different industries such as shipping, fisheries and seabed mining. Currently, there is no organization has responsibility for conservation of nature or establishment of protected areas.

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Copyright © 2013 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 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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