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World Parks Congress: 30% no-take MPA coverage worldwide

January 19, 2015
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Only 2.1% of the world’s oceans are protected in marine protected areas, and globally only 0.8% are protected strongly in no-take marine reserves

Only 2.1% of the world’s oceans are protected in marine protected areas, and globally only 0.8% are protected strongly in no-take marine reserves. From MPAtlas.

I’m catching up on my reading of the November/December issue of MPA News, a newsletter that I highly recommend. The big headline is what’s being called “The Promise of Sydney”, which among other things, calls for 30% of the ocean to be protected under no-take marine reserves.

MPA News provides some context to this ambitious call:

The goal of 30% no-take coverage amounts to a rebuke of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Target 11, which was set in 2010. Aichi Target 11 calls for just 10% of marine areas to be conserved in MPAs or other effective area-based conservation measures by 2020. Under that target, the MPAs also don’t need to be no-take (MPA News 12:3). The WPC’s 30% no-take goal is ambitious. Current no-take coverage still amounts to less than 1% of the world ocean. (Notably the Promise of Sydney sets no deadline for meeting the 30% target.)  That being said, it reinforces a goal set at the last World Parks Congress, held in 2003 in Durban, South Africa, where participants recommended that 20-30% of the world’s oceans be placed in no-take areas. (In Sydney, the 30% no-take figure was somewhat of a midway point between Aichi Target 11, on the low end of MPA coverage goals, and calls for “Nature Needs Half” on the high end. The latter is a campaign among several conservation NGOs to protect at least half of the world ecosystem as wild nature space — http://www.natureneedshalf.org.)

I find this a fascinating idea, but struggle to imagine the technological and budgetary shifts that would need to occur to ensure that such large areas are truly protected.

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