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Blog Post

UNU-INWEH’s Coastal Division was featured in the  UNU Our World 2.0 Magazine article “Can no-take fishery reserves help protect our oceans?”.

By: Ms. Van Lavieren

In 2008, the small Pacific island nation of Kiribati became a global conservation leader by establishing the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), the world’s largest marine protected area (MPA), the size of California. It aims to protect pristine coral reefs and rich fish populations threatened by over-fishing and climate change.

In 2011, a massive new MPA called the Seamounts Marine Management Area, was created around Cocos Island (Costa Rica) in the eastern tropical Pacific. This MPA is as big as Yellowstone National Park in the United States and protects endangered marine species such as hammerhead sharks and leatherback turtles, as well as fish stocks that are important to local communities.

MPAs are especially needed now that our oceans are under more pressure than ever before. Global per-capita fish consumption reached an all-time high in 2008 at 17.1 kg per person (a rate predicted to continue to climb steadily). Fish stocks are being overfished and important habitats are being lost or degraded at an unprecedented rate

In considering the question of size, large MPAs have been found to be most effective in terms of fish conservation where big fish can more than triple in size within a reserve, compared to outside. But a single large MPA is not always the best solution. NTRs that are too large may maintain good fish populations, but if most of the fish remain inside, this does not help fishermen. At the same time, NTRs that are too small cannot maintain viable fish populations…read more here.