Q: Why create MPAs?
A: Because the world is losing its living ocean resources.
This is the simplest explanation for MPAs. Today, 12% of the world's land resources are protected by parks, but less than 1% of the oceans have such protection.
Around the world, MPAs are recognized as a means for conserving natural, historic, and cultural marine resources. Which is the reason why they are now appearing from South Africa to New Zealand to Canada. Australia, in one of the boldest moves in ocean conservation today, just designated one third of the entire Great Barrier Reef as a complete no-fishing/no take zone.
MPAs have become a major worldwide trend. Through protection of marine species and habitats, MPAs provide social and economic benefits, including sustainable recreational and commercial use of marine resources and enhanced research and educational opportunities.
Q: Can MPAs be avoided?
A: In the opinion of opponents to MPAs, “yes, for the most part.” Many believe there are other, more effective ways to ensure that fish resources are not over-exploited such as careful regulation of fishing seasons and catch size. We have attempted to present a sample of these arguments at the DO THEY WORK? button.
Q: What happens if we don't create MPAs?
A: In the opinion of conservationists, it’s the old “Tragedy of the Commons” problem. The world’s oceans have been a shared public resource, but unfortunately have not been managed properly. Last year’s landmark paper by Myers and Worm in Nature reported that there are now less than 10 percent of the large commercial fish species remaining.