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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  September 2016  /  Are remote ‘marine protected areas’ a diversion?

Are remote ‘marine protected areas’ a diversion?

Media attention for Peter Jones’s paper

Are remote ‘marine protected areas’ a diversion?

Dr Peter Jones has published a viewpoint paper in Marine Policy, which has since led to an  article in The Conversation, a TV news interview and an article in The Guardian.

The paper, Is the race for remote, very large marine protected areas (VLMPAs) taking us down the wrong track?, argues that the designation of vast marine protected areas (MPAs) in remote overseas territories may be a distraction, diverting attention, resources and political will from the needs of smaller MPAs in more intensively used ‘metropolitan’ inshore seas closer to human populations.

Also questioned is whether the target under the Convention on Biological Diversity, for 10% of the world’s seas to be covered by MPA designations, will be met if the majority of the coverage is confined to relatively few vast remote MPAs.

The target specifies that MPA networks must be effective, representative, well-connected and equitable, and the paper questions whether these elements are actually met, given that around 70% of MPA coverage is confined to the largest 25 vast remote MPAs.

The publication of this paper and the related article in The Conversation coincided with President Obama’s speech in early September, at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, on the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to 1.5 million square kilometres – as big as France, Spain and Germany combined.

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Very large marine protected areas


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