Marine protected areas often expensive and misplaced

Marine protected areas often expensive and misplaced
Humpback Whale. Credit: Christopher Michel

Many marine protected areas are often unnecessarily expensive and located in the wrong places, an international study has shown.

The University of Queensland was part of research which found protected areas missed many unique ecosystems, and have a greater impact on fisheries than necessary.

A collaboration with the University of Hamburg, Wildlife Conservation Society and The Nature Conservancy assessed the efficiency of marine protected areas, which now cover 16 per cent of national waters around the world.

UQ's School of Biological Sciences researcher Professor Hugh Possingham said international marine preservation targets are falling short.

"International conservation targets such as the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals call for protection of at least 10 per cent of all the world's oceans and all marine ecosystems," he said.

"Despite a tenfold increase in marine protected areas since the year 2000—a growth of 21 million square kilometres—half of all still fall short of the target, with 10 ecosystems entirely unprotected."

The researchers assessed whether the expansion had been cost efficient—measuring potential earnings lost from fisheries—and effectively focused.

Marine protected areas often expensive and misplaced
Kelp forest. Credit: Oliver Dodd

The University of Hamburg's Dr. Kerstin Jantke, who led the research, said that marine protected could have been far more efficient with greater planning.

"With a more strategic approach at the inception of global conservation targets in 1982, the network could be a third smaller, cost half as much, and meet international targets by protecting 10 per cent of every ecosystem," she said.

"It is clearly in the interests of nations to start strategic planning as early as possible to avoid costly imbalanced reserve systems."

Nations will negotiate new conservation targets for 2020-2030 at a United Nations meeting next year in China.

"We urge governments to take note and be tactical from the outset, delivering better outcomes for nature , but also saving them a lot of money," Professor Possingham said.

The study has been published in Conservation Letters.


Explore further

Australia to open more marine parks to commercial fishing

More information: Kerstin Jantke et al, Poor ecological representation by an expensive reserve system: Evaluating 35 years of marine protected area expansion, Conservation Letters (2018). DOI: 10.1111/conl.12584
Journal information: Conservation Letters

Citation: Marine protected areas often expensive and misplaced (2018, June 28) retrieved 25 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-marine-areas-expensive-misplaced.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
2 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jun 28, 2018
A distressing state of affairs few see.
So many, self destructively assume that certain groups, like those allied to the Democratic Rackets, are necessarily working only for the good of man and nature. The Democratic Rackets are just as much a swindle to try to control the resources of the country only to make the rich richer as the Republican Party. Democratic Racketeers do it differently, though. Laws and regulations aren't intended to improve the environment, but, rather, to try to hamstring Republican industries, like coal, oil, mining. In the same way, areas "protected" to "save the environment" are really decided on to prevent Republican industries acting there. The parcelling off of oceanic regions for "protection" demonstrated here suggests an initiative to impact the fishing industry, with companies being required to pay for the right to fish in certain areas.

Jun 30, 2018
If you live in a world where everyone's out to get you, you might just be paranoid.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more