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Marine Protected Areas Failing to Conserve Biodiversity

Marine Protected Areas Failing to Conserve Biodiversity

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Despite a rapid increase in the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) globally in the last ten years, scientists say many have not succeeded in conserving marine biodiversity.

(Photo from: Jurgen Freund/WWF)

(Photo from: Jurgen Freund/WWF)

Australian scientists put the blame on states for not taking appropriate measures to carry proper conservation, according to a report published in the online journal Scientific Reports.

The scientists used different databases to analyse how a total of 17,348 species, including fish, mammals and invertebrates, are represented in MPAs which now number around 7,000 globally.

According to the study, a minimum of 10 per cent of a species needs to be protected to ensure their survival. But the study showed that 97.4 per cent of the 17,348 species are at less than 10 per cent.

“The fact that only 2.6 per cent of the species is represented at this level in MPAs shows that there is a profound conservation shortfall,” the study said.

Almost all of the species that are most poorly represented in the MPAs are located within patrimonial seas — areas that nations have an obligation to conserve and where they are also obligated to preserve living resources. The United States, Canada, Brazil and the Antarctic were found to have the highest number of these missing species.

While the study does not cite the Asia-Pacific as another hotspot, key MPAs in the region like the Coral Triangle — spanning Indonesia, Philippines and the far southwestern Pacific — are also under threat from poor marine management, including overfishing and destructive fishing practices.

This piece was originally produced by SciDev.Net’s Latin America & Caribbean desk, with additional inputs from the South-East Asia & Pacific desk.

To read the complete article, go to SciDev.Net.

Avatar of Coral Triangle Written by Coral Triangle

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