Study shows that 17K marine species remain unprotected in their natural habitat. Species like sharks, whales or fish are left outside the protected areas that would normally ensure biodiversity.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Report and is the most comprehensive analysis of the protected areas of the sea world. It has a great importance to the marine world as it suggests where the MPAs can be extended.
Scientists that contributed to the study came from University of California – Santa Barbara, the Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) in Australia and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis within the Imperial College London and the WCS.
The study concludes that 97.4% of the endangered marine species have only 10% of the protected areas in their natural habitat. Countries that have the lowest rate in safeguarding the species of fish; they have a small marine protected area are the U.S.A., Canada and Brazil.
Researchers looked at approximately 17,400 species of marine life including whales, rays, fish and sharks. They also found that the poorly represented species live in exclusive economic regions, which means that only 2% of their natural habitat are marine life protected areas.
This issue outlines the fact that there is a high need for those areas to be extended as MPAs taking into account social-economic costs and success rate, especially for the endangered species that are limited to a geographic location.
Although in the recent years, the marine life protected areas increased, study suggests that the MPAs had enlarged only in a few specific areas. This doesn’t mean that the biodiversity is safeguarded and limited to that, as all marine species must be protected.
The increase in MPAs becomes an urgent matter as not only nature, but millions of people rely on marine biodiversity and the study offers strategic indication on where MPAs could be placed, co-author Dr. James Watson advises. Another essential point is to minimize the negative social – economic impact.
The findings of the study encourage investigators to outline the opportunities for the achievement of the goal that the Convention on Biological Diversity has set, that is, to preserve and protect 10% of the bio marine life by 2020.
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