Marine Protected Areas Made Easy

By March 1, 2012 Ocean News
Marine Protected Area in Madagascar

Developing Countries Create Great Marine Protected Areas

A new study conducted by a team of scientists and organizations including the Wildlife Conservation Society on the creation process of Marine Protected Areas. The study area was in Madagascar, a large island off the South East coast of Africa. It’s also one of the poorest nations in the world.

Marine Protected Area in Madagascar

Madagascar is proposing to designate 1 million hectares of Ocean to be Protected

The study looked at how the island nation prioritized designating their Marine Protected Areas in various regions. The study looked at pressures from fishing (over fishing) and climate change vulnerability (sea level rise, storm surge vulnerability, and impacts to drinking water supplies) and prioritized Marine Protected Area planning based on areas with high impacts to both factors.

The result is the proposed 1 million hectares of Marine Protected Areas for Madagascar. An unbelievable achievement!

Developing to Developed Connection

This study makes me wonder why it is so difficult to establish Marine Protected Areas in general. In a Developed country like Canada or the United States there are many Ocean Users whose operations could cause major environmental problems if something goes wrong. So when it comes time to protect the environment from these activities, we tend to side with the Ocean Users; however, I feel that we should side more with the environment.

I understand that Ocean Users need to make money, but at what cost, the Ocean Environment. It seems to me that we should take a more conservative approach and conserve the Ocean before allowing the Ocean Users to wreak havoc on the Ocean environment. A System of Marine Protected Areas would allow for the designation of different managed areas. For instance, some areas would allow for fishing, while other areas would allow for oil and gas exploration and other areas would be off limits to everyone.

What do you think about this type of conservation approach?

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Chris Bone says:

    MPA’s are easy to create in developing countries because people put the environment before greed, unlike most “developed” people. We have created lasting MPA’s in the SW Pacific in as little as 9 days.

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