How Much Is Enough Protection?

Current MPA Coverage

According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, there are now about 130,000 protected areas, covering nearly 13% of the world's terrestrial surface, and over 6% of territorial marine areas. However, the precise level of MPA coverage is difficult to determine because of the many different governmental processes involved in MPA creation and management. Marine Conservation Institute has calculated that the upper limit for global coverage of marine protected area coverage now actually stands at 2.18%, following new large MPA designations, and just under 0.2% of that coverage is located beyond national jurisdictions. However, many of these areas are “paper-parks”, the actual marine area protected is questionable with weak regulations and/or poor compliance. Statistics for no-take areas, which offer the best chances for protecting biodiversity, are not available, but their area is certain to be considerably less. The best estimate for global no-take MPAs coverage is 1.03% of the world’s ocean.

Current marine and terrestrial protected area coverage as of May 2015.

tool.JPG

Marine Protected Areas vs. Terrestrial Protected Areas (Shaded in Brown)

 

International Agreements to Protect Marine Areas

Many nations have agreed to establish marine protected areas as part of their larger commitment to protecting biological diversity.

In 2002: The participants of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainability Development (WSSD) agreed to establish representative networks of marine protected areas by 2012.

In 2004: The Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) set a global marine MPA target of 10% coverage by 2012. Following the IUCN World Parks Congress, several other important agreements, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Durban Accord have set gradual and tangible marine conservation goals for world economic leaders.

In 2010: The Convention on Biological Diversity's Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, called the Aichi Target 11, calls for 10% of coastal and marine areas to be conserved by 2020 through effectively managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes (Convention on Biological Diversity, 2010).

In 2014: The World Parks Congress increased their recommendation for 30% of the oceans to be strongly protected by 2030. Additionally, many countries have established their own national targets for marine protected areas, ranging in coverage from 10% to 30% (Table).

 

Summary of Agreements between Countries with Marine Estate

 

 

  International Agreements Regional Treaties/Agreements Among Partners/NGOs/Public Bodies/Research Groups
Countries Convention on Biological Diversity (Aichi) United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance International Coral Reef Initiative The World Heritage Convention The Regional Seas Convention Barcelona Convention Natura2000 Atlantic Arc Network of MPAs - MAIA Caribbean MPA Network - CaMPAM Mediterranean MPA Network - MedPAN North American MPA Network - NAMPAN West Africa MPA Network - RAMPAO OSPAR Convention
Albania                          
Algeria                          
Angola                          
Antigua and Barbuda                          
Argentina                  
American Samoa                  
Australia                
Azerbaijan                          
Bahamas                          
Bahrain                          
Bangladesh                          
Barbados                          
Belgium                          
Belize                
Benin                          
Bosnia and Herzegovina                          
Brazil                
Brunei Darussalam                          
Bulgaria                          
British Virgin Islands                          
Cabo Verde                          
Cambodia                          
Cameroon                          
Canada                
Chile                  
China                  
Colombia                  
Comoros                          
Congo                          
Cook Islands                          
Costa Rica                          
Côte d'Ivoire                           
Croatia                          
Cuba                
Cyprus                          
Democratic People's Republic of Korea                          
Democratic Republic of the Congo                          
Denmark                          
Djibouti                          
Dominica                          
Dominican Republic                
Ecuador                          
Egypt                          
El Salvador                          
Equatorial Guinea                          
Eritrea                          
Estonia                          
European Union       (✓)          
Fiji                
Finland                          
France    
Gabon                          
Gambia                          
Georgia                          
Germany              
Ghana                          
Greece                          
Grenada              
Guatemala                          
Guinea                          
Guinea-Bissau                          
Guam                          
Guyana                          
Haiti                          
Honduras                          
Iceland                          
India                
Indonesia                
Iran (Islamic Republic of)                          
Iraq                          
Ireland                
Israel                          
Italy            
Jamaica              
Japan                
Jordan                          
Kazakhstan                          
Kenya                          
Kiribati                  
Kuwait                          
Lativa                          
Lebanon              
Liberia                          
Libya                          
Lithuania                          
Madagascar                
Malaysia                          
Maldives                  
Malta            
Marshall Islands                  
Mauritania                          
Mauritius                          
Mexico            
Micronesia (Federal States of)                    
Monaco                          
Mongolia                          
Montenegro                          
Morocco                          
Mozambique                          
Myanmar                          
Namibia                          
Nauru                          
Netherlands                          
New Zealand                  
Nicaragua                          
Nigeria                          
Niue                          
Norway                          
Oman                          
Pakistan                          
Palau                
Panama                          
Papua New Guinea                          
Peru                          
Philipines                
Poland                          
Portugal                          
Qatar                          
Republic of Korea                          
Romania                          
Russia                    
Saint Kitts and Nevis                          
Saint Lucia                          
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines                          
Samoa                          
Sao Tome and Principe                          
Saudi Arabia                    
Senegal                          
Seychelles                          
Sierra Leone                          
Singapore                          
Slovenia                          
Solomon Islands                          
Somalia                          
South Africa                
South Korea                      
Spain                          
Sri Lanka                          
Sudan                          
Suriname                          
Sweden                          
Syrian Arab Republic                          
Thailand                          
Togo                          
Tonga                          
Trinidad and Tobago                          
Tunisia                          
Turkey              
Turkmenistan                          
Tuvalu                          
Ukraine                          
United Arab Emirates                          
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland                          
United Kingdom        
United Republic of Tanzania                          
Uruguay                          
Vanuatu                          
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)                          
Viet Nam                          
Yemen                          
United States                

 

International MPA Targets

 

Agreement Goal
CBD (2010) Designate 10% of the world’s marine areas under MPA status by the year 2020
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea The support for creating marine protected areas can be inferred from a number of articles in the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention19. Article 192 of the LOSC provides that "States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine Environment". Other articles of the LOSC lend support to the creation of marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction for specific purposes such as conservation and management of living resources in Article 61
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance The Convention's mission is "the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development through the world". Wetlands includes mangroves, coastal areas and coral reefs.
International Coral Reef Initiative ICRI emerged out recognition that coral reefs and related ecosystems found in tropical and sub-tropical regions are facing serious degredation, primarly due to anthropogenic stresses. It's objectives is to encourage the adoption of best practice in sustainable management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems, build capacity and raise awareness at all levels on the plight of coral reefs around the world.
The World Heritage Convention The convention sets out the duties of State Parties in identifying potential sites and their role in protecting and preserving them. The State Parties are encouraged to integrate the protection of the cultural and natural heritage into regional planning programs, set up staff and services at their sites, undertake scientific and technical conservation research.

 

National MPA Targets

Many countries have established national targets, accompanied by action plans and implementations. Many countries are also collaborating with each other to establish effective regional conservation plans (Table from UNEP: National and Regional Networks of Marine Protected Areas: A review of Progress 2012)

Country Plan of Action
America -Samoa 20% of reefs to be potected as no-take areas 2010
Bahamas 20% of the marine ecosystem to be fully protected (no-take) for fisheries replenishment; 20% of coastal and marine habitats to be protected by 2020 (Caribbean Challenge)
Belize 20% of all bioregions. 30% of Coral reefs. 60% of turtle nesting sites. 30% of Manatee distribution. 60% of American crocodile nesting. 80% of spawning aggregations
Brazil National MPA system by 2012
Chile 10% of marine area protected by 2010. National marine network of conservation and management sites by 2015.
Colombia - San Andres Archipelago Seaflower MPA, 2000 km2 to be no-take
Cuba 22% of continental shelf protected (14.678 km2), including: 15% of the Insular shelf 25% of Coral reefs 25% of each subtype of Wetlands
Dominican Republic 20% of marine and coastal habitats to be protected by 2020 (Caribbean Challenge)
Fed States of Micronesia 30% of nearshore marine ecosystems protected by 2020 (Micronesia Challenge)
Fiji 30% of coral reefs protected by 2015. 30% of waters managed as an MPA network by 2020
Germany 38% of watesr as MPAs (no set date)
Grenada 25% of nearshore marine resources protected by 2020 (Caribbean Challenge)
Guam 30% of nearshore marine ecosystem protected by 2020 (Micronesia Challenge)
Indonesia 100,000 km2 protected by 2010; 200,000 km2 by 2020
Jamaica 20% of marine and coastal habitats to be protected by 2020 (Caribbean Challenge)
Madagascar 100,000 km2 marine waters protected by 2012
Marshall Islands 30% of nearshore marine ecosystems protected by 2020 (Micronesia Challenge)
New Zealand 10% of marine environment protected by 2010
Northern Marianas 30% of nearshore marine ecosystems protected by 2020 (Micronesia Challenge)
Palau 30% of nearshore marine ecosystems protected by 2020 (Micronesia Challenge)
Philippines 10% fully protected (no-take) by 2020
Senegal Creation of MPA network (no set date)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 20% of marine and coastal habitats to be protected by 2020 (Caribbean Challenge)
Tanzania 10% of sea protected by 2010; 20% of seas by 2025
United Kingdom Network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to be established by 2020
United States A national system of marine protected areas with no set deadline, currently includes 297 member sites; Central California - 29 MPAs covering 18% of state coastal waters (528 km2), with 243 km2 as no-take areas

 

National and Regional Progress Towards Establishing Marine Protected Areas

 

Atlantic Arc Network of MPAs - MAIA

Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - HELCOM

Caribbean MPA Network - CaMPAM

Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources - CCAMLR

Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia - COBSEA

Coral Triangle Initiative - CTI-CFF

Mediterranean Action Plan of the Barcelona Convention - MAP

Mediterranean MPA Network - MedPan

North American MPA Network - NAMPAN

Northwest Pacific Action Plan - NOWPAP

OSPAR Commission 

The Caribbean Environment Programme - CEP

The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden - PERSGA

West Africa MPA Network - RAMPAO