Marine Protected Areas: A fundamental tool for long-term ocean biodiversity protection and sustainable management

Statement IUCN - WCPA

IUCN-WCPA Statement Photo: @D.Herr

This statement is a response to discussions on the designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marne Living Resources (CCAMLR), which recently introduced a debate about time-limits for MPA designations.  The IUCN defines a protected area as “A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values”.

The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA) underscores two important elements of effective MPA designation and management:

• Individual MPAs and MPA networks in their entirety, particularly in areas where ecosystem health is already impacted, or in areas with fragile, slow growing, vulnerable species - such as polar regions - should be long-term permanent commitments; and

• Individual MPAs within permanent MPA networks need appropriate review mechanisms to allow for flexible and adaptive management.

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