Monday, July 13, 2009

Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas

It has been a while since I’ve posted to our Coastal Voices Blog.

Lately I’ve been interviewing people around the north island area to find out what they value in their marine environment, what they observe, what they have seen changing over time. As part of the interview process I always seek comments about the issues that Living Oceans Society is involved in. I’ve noticed that when the subject of marine protected areas comes up it is often seen as a conflict between conservation and fishing.

Personally, I can get behind MPAs when they are, as Living Oceans Society advocates, designed and managed for the common good, according to science-based policies that consider entire ecosystems.

So while researching the subject of MPAs I discovered that at a time when the world’s oceans are facing unprecedented pressures from human impacts in the marine environment, a new decision-making tool is being launched to provide the most current and relevant information about marine and coastal biodiversity and its protection status.

This marine protected areas tool (, created by the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is part of the recently redeveloped World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) – the authoritative and most globally comprehensive list of marine and terrestrial protected areas.

Check out the WDPA website and you will see a photograph of Echo Bay, the world's smallest marine protected area at less than half a hectare.

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