What is the evidence that we need Marine Sanctuaries?

High levels of protection are supported by the best science:

“A figure of 10% under no-take protection would slow but not prevent loss of biodiversity: the current no-take level in the GBRMP of 33% is more likely to achieve substantial and sustained biodiversity benefits… Rare and vulnerable ecosystems or communities should be provided with greater protection – up to 100% where an isolated ecosystem or habitat type is endangered”

Statement from the Australian Marine Science Association (AMSA), “Position statement on marine protected areas” (2008) (note: AMSA is Australia’s leading marine science association)

“The final MPA network should consist of a minimum of 30% of the area of each Bioregion… Individual conservation features should all be represented in high protection zones at a minimum of 30%… Conservation features that are known to be significant, threatened, or in a degraded state will normally require greater proportional representation”

Scientific Principles for Design of Marine Protected Areas in Australia: A Guidance Statement, (2009), produced by University of Queensland and endorsed by 50 of Australia’s top marine scientists.

“Creating a worldwide system of very large marine no-take areas is an essential and long-overdue contribution to improving stewardship of the global marine environment.”

Statement from the PEW Global Ocean Legacy, 8th June 2010, signed by over 245 leading marine scientists from more than 35 countries.


Science shows marine sanctuaries work:

“With 32% of GBR reef area in no-take reefs, and fish densities about two times greater on those reefs, fish populations across the ecosystem have increased considerably…the reserve network is also helping the plight of threatened species like dugongs and marine turtles.”

Media comment from authors of the paper, Adaptive Management of the Great Barrier Reef: a globally significant demonstration of the benefits of a network of marine reserves, (Feb 2010), a paper written by 21 of Australia’s leading marine scientists.

“Global evidence, including from the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Marine Parks, shows that fish abundance and biomass are 2 to 5 times greater within sanctuary zones than areas that are open to fishing. .. sanctuary zones enhance fishing through the spill-over of adults into fished areas … increasing evidence suggests that commercial fishing yields are highest near marine park boundaries.”

Open letter from 10 leading Western Australian marine scientists, Camden Sound – the perfect candidate for a large marine sanctuary, Published in The West Australian 22nd March 2010


Marine Sanctuaries Have Economic Benefits

“The results of the study indicate that even without the non-market benefits of marine protection, the combination of fishery buffer benefits, spillovers for commercial and recreational fishers and increased ecotourism benefits are likely to outweigh the displacement costs.”

Dr Martin Van Bueren, Director at Allen Consulting, The Economics of Marine Protected Areas: Application of Principles to Australia’s Southwest Marine Region, Nov 2009


What’s the Difference: Marine Parks and Marine Sanctuaries?

Marine Sanctuaries are the equivalent of National Parks on land, areas where fish and their habitat are protected from all fishing, mining and oil extraction.  Scientific research shows dramatic increases in fish populations and marine life health within marine sanctuaries.

Marine Parks are areas managed by conservation authorities.  They may include marine sanctuary areas as special zones within their borders. Marine parks allow restricted fishing and mining.  Scientific research shows that these areas do not produce the same dramatic benefits as marine sanctuaries.



2 thoughts on “What is the evidence that we need Marine Sanctuaries?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention What is the evidence that we need Marine Sanctuaries? « The Happy Squid Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. Pingback: The Economics of Marine Protected Areas: Allen Consulting Group report shows benefits from marine sanctuaries « The Happy Squid Blog

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