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As Large Marine Reserves Proliferate, Care Must be Taken to Ensure They’re Properly Enforced and Effective

Source: News Deeply/Matthew O. Berger - September 14, 2017 in Environment, Featured

As Large Marine Reserves Proliferate, Care Must be Taken to Ensure They’re Properly Enforced and Effective
Photo: Patricio Antonio Soto Latrille/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

As progress is steadily being made toward the United Nations goal of setting aside 10 percent of the ocean as marine protected areas by 2020, scientists and conservationists are increasingly realizing that success needs to be about more than hitting a number.

“It isn’t just about measuring the coverage. It’s the coverage plus the quality,” said Lance Morgan, president of the Marine Conservation Institute, who attended the quadrennial International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Chile last week.

He says that view of marine protected areas (MPAs) was echoed throughout the conference, a theme other attendees picked up on as well.

“We’ve really entered a new era of marine conservation, with large MPAs really dominating the global map,” Rebecca Gruby, an assistant professor at Colorado State University who heads the Human Dimensions of Large Marine Protected Areas project, said after returning from Chile. “There’s been this large and rapid increase in MPAs, but we need to go beyond spatial coverage in reaching these global conservation targets. We need to effectively manage these areas and make sure they’re equitable.”

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