Global Ocean Legacy
The Pew Charitable Trusts
A 21st century case for large fully-protected marine reserves: working to establish parks in the world’s least protected ecosystems
Wednesday — September 18, 2013
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.
In 1872, the headwaters of the Yellowstone River and the surrounding forests, canyons and geyser basins were designated the world's first national park. Since then, most nations around the world have protected important biological places. Today, depending on how you measure it, six to 12 percent of the world's land has been protected as national parks or other conservation areas. Our relationship to the sea has followed a strikingly different course. Although over two-thirds of the planet's surface is water, little of the marine environment is protected. Today, less than one percent of the ocean is safe from exploitation.
Large, highly-protected marine reserves, similar to land-based national parks, have only recently been recognized and utilized as a tool for ocean conservation. The first was designated in 2005, when the U.S. created the 363,000 km2 Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. In 2010 the U.K. followed with the designation of the Chagos Marine Reserve—at 640,000 km2 it's currently the world's largest no-take marine reserve. And this past year Australia implemented the 501,000 km2 Coral Sea Marine National Park.
These new reserves are just the beginning. Countries all over the globe are considering the creation of very large fully protected marine reserves. My talk will focus on the significant conservation potential of large no-take marine reserves and how they are helping to meet international agreements to set aside ten percent of the world's oceans as reserves by 2020.
Next: October 2— Keith Hester