Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an important tool for protecting marine biodiversity. But currently there is strong focus on increasing the percentage of protected areas and not enough on the quality of protection.
The policy brief ”Raising quality of marine protection” addresses the background and the reason for why it's important not to only look at the quantity of areas protected, and suggests the way forward for preserving our marine assets.
The researcher behind the policy brief is Sofia Wikström, Marine Biologist at Baltic Eye, Baltic Sea Centre, Stockholm University. In this video she explains why the issues brought up in the policy brief are important.
What is the policy brief about?
The policy brief is about Marine Protected Areas which can be an important tool for protecting marine biodiversity. But that requires that they are set up in a good way.
Why did you write the policy brief?
There is a strong push at the moment, both in the EU and other places in the world, to increase the number of MPAs to protect larger areas to reach a target of protected areas of 10% by 2020. And I think there is a risk that we focus so much on the number of MPAs that we forget what we want the MPAs to do.
What needs to be done now?
One thing that is striking is that fishing is regulated in very few European MPAs. And this is despite the fact that fishing is one of the main drivers of change in marine systems. So this is an area where fisheries managers have to come together with nature managers to set up common goals on how we should protect our seas.