An international team of marine scientists has concluded, after extensive research, that a number of 17K ocean species are unprotected.
- More and more marine species are endangered
- Countries like the U.S. or Canada have very large gaps of MPAs
- At least 10% of the marine population has to be protected by 2020
Around the world are several MPAs (Marine Protected Areas). These areas cover about 17,348 marine species including fish, shark and whales. This includes only species with known distribution.
According to researchers a percentage of 97.4 of marine species have less than 10% of their range in the MPAs. Although there are very large MPAs and recently their numbers have been increasing, they could be misleading as we think biodiversity is very well protected. However, despite the fact that these areas are very large, they don’t cover the entire water surface of our planet and there are huge gaps. And those huge gaps mean marine beings are in danger. Some of the unprotected areas are very big and are located in the U.S., Brazil and Canada maritime territories.
The Convention on Biological Diversity has set a conservation goal of protecting 10% of the marine biodiversity. The goal is to be reached by 2020. What was discovered is that individual nations could have an important role and a great impact on marine biodiversity. The reason is that the species which have less than 2 percent representation in MPAs can be found mostly in exclusive economic areas. Such an area is a zone which a certain state has certain rights upon concerning the use of marine resources.
What needs to be done is of course, increase the number of MPAs in order to make sure marine biodiversity is protected. The study will provide guidance as to where marine protected areas should be placed while taking into consideration factors like social and economic impacts. The costs of implementing such areas also have to be taken into account as well as feasibility. Concerning the marine species, extinction risk should be considered as well as endemism. Endemism refers to species that are defined by a certain geographic location and cannot be relocated.
All in all, something must be done and quickly about marine biodiversity as more and more species are going extinct because they don’t get enough protection. Moreover, this is also important for the human population as there are millions of us who depend every day on marine life.
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