We need to #thinkdifferently about our marine environments #sustainability

The International Community have designated parts of our seas, oceans, estuaries and large lakes as “Marine Protected Areas.” The concept is to promote conservation in these areas to protect these important resources and can include wildlife refuges or research facilities. The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are protected and legislated by regional authorities around the world.

Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, examines in this article how the U.N. may be too optimistic on achieving its target to protect 10% of our global oceans.

The United Nations’ target for global ocean protection is 10% of the ocean in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2020. There has been remarkable progress in the last decade, and some organizations claim that 7% of the ocean is already protected and that we will exceed the 10% target by 2020. However, currently only 3.6% of the ocean is in implemented MPAs, and only 2% is in implemented strongly or fully protected areas. Here we argue that current protection has been overestimated because it includes areas that are not yet protected, and that areas that allow significant extractive activities such as fishing should not count as ‘protected.’ The most rigorous projections suggest that we will not achieve the 10% target in truly protected areas by 2020.

At a U.N. conference held last June, the executive secretary for the Convention on Biological Diversity announced approximately 5.7 percent of the ocean was protected.

But a new study published in Marine Policy paints a less optimistic picture.

Read the Marine Policy study here

Industrial fishing is just one of the environmental impacts that we need to manage…

For centuries, humans have relied on the ocean for subsistence by harvesting its abundance of fish. In recent decades, new technologies have allowed humans to remove fish from the ocean on a massive scale to supply Earth’s burgeoning population. Unfortunately, there are many negative environmental consequences to these practices and overfishing has been identified as a primary cause of ecosystem collapse in many aquatic systems.

 

Marine Protected Areas

Scientists agree that marine protected areas, or MPAs, are essential for environmental health: they ensure fishers have healthy stocks by preventing resource depletion; they protect endangered species; they make ecosystems more resistant to climate change; and they maintain biodiversity.

Images credit: Pixabay Creative Commons

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