why do we support marine protected areas?

A Marine Protected Area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.

how much of the ocean is actually protected?

Currently, less than 3% of the world’s oceans are protected in marine protected areas that are actually implemented and managed.  Of that, only 1% is strongly protected in no-take marine reserves.

Map of Current and Proposed Marine protected Areas

Want to see where these Marine Protected Areas exist and where new ones are being proposed?  Check out this interactive map by our conservation partner, the Marine Conservation Institute.

What are the benefits of Marine Protected Areas?

  • Improved fish catches. In areas that are protected, fish “spil over” from the no-fishing zones leading to increased catches and higher incomes for fishermen.
  • New jobs, mostly in tourism. The marine protected areas’ greatest boost to household incomes came from new jobs, especially in eco-tourism.
  • Stronger local governance.  Wherever community governance mechanisms are established for the management of marine protected area, communities have a more united voice and frequently reduced conflict within themselves and with neighboring communities.
  • Benefits to health. Greater fish catches lead to greater protein intake with a notable improvement in children’s health in particular.
  • Benefits to women. Marine protected area can help empower women economically and socially. The development of alternative livelihoods to fishing, such as seaweed farming and basket weaving, also provides new income opportunities for women. As a result, they gain a stronger voice in community meetings.