One of a kind study provides roadmap for protecting oceans in keeping with UN goal

The United Nations are had set a goal that 10 percent of the oceans are made MPAs by 2020.


The United Nations had set a goal that 10 percent of the oceans were to be made Marine Protected Areas (MPA) by 2020.

MPAs are protected areas of seas, oceans and lakes that can be used as wildlife refuges or research facilities. These areas restrict human activity and promote conservation.

A new, one of a kind study has looked at the 10 internationally recognized maps that showed global MPAs. The team behind the study has compiled the results of multiple studies and provided a roadmap for creating more MPAs in the future.

One of a kind study provides roadmap for protecting oceans in keeping with UN goal

This study has provided a roadmap for the creation of MPAs.

There have been various initiatives to determine important marine areas, but, they’ve all settled on different areas based on their varying test methodology.

This study, undertaken by researchers from Stony Brook University, looked at all these initiatives, quantified their results, and conducted a gap analysis at a global scale to come up with these results.

A gap analysis of a system essentially analyses it to figure out what needs to be done to get a desired result.

The researchers found that 55 percent of the ocean was seen as important by at least one of the previous organisations. From that 55 percent, 58 percent was within national jurisdictions and 42 percent was in the high seas.

From two to four maps, 14 percent of the ocean was marked as important and a gap analysis showed that nearly 90 percent of this area was currently unprotected. According to a press release, the largest of these important but unprotected areas were located in the Caribbean Sea, Madagascar and the southern tip of Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Coral Triangle region.

Nearly all areas identified by five or more maps are already protected, as reported by the World Database on Protected Areas. Most nations protect less than 10 percent of the identified priority areas within their exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

Most of the important marine areas identified by scientists aren't located inside marine protected areas. Image credit: Stony Brook University

Most of the important marine areas identified by scientists aren't located inside marine protected areas. Image credit: Stony Brook University

The UN goal can be accomplished only if the coastal states work together and if the areas marked important are protected, it would add 9.34 percent of the ocean to the global MPA network. There are also 76 million km of high seas that are important and unprotected.

Ellen Pikitich, co-author of the study said in a statement, “This study can help guide placement of future MPAs to meet agreed objectives for the quantity, quality and representativeness of the global network of marine protected areas. Local studies and expertise will also be necessary to implement this process.”

The results from this study were published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

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