Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Not All High Seas MPAs Are Created Equal

A major goal of the marine conservation community is to see that more marine protected areas (MPAs) are established because they have been found to be highly effective to protect ocean ecosystems.  The international community has even gone so far as to include a goal under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to establish MPAs in 10% of the world’s marine areas by 2020. 

That’s a huge amount of ocean to be protected – 36 million square kilometers.  Unfortunately, the world is not on-track to meet the 2020 goal.  Only 1.31% of the world ocean is covered by MPAs and few are on the high seas because of the legal complexities.

Now we are learning that some high seas MPAs are not very effective.  According to Jeff Ardron, Director of the High Seas Program at the Marine Conservation Institute (MCI) some MPAs have been developed according to science, but other MPAs have been created less systematically—sometimes with the intention of not protecting the most vulnerable areas!  Jeff and his colleagues at MCI are presently studying these inconsistencies in high seas MPAs around the world. 

Watch the video below for Jeff’s take on the problem:

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