The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and is essential for supporting life on our planet.
The ocean plays a vital role in climate regulation and nutrient cycling, and we are fundamentally dependent on it for drinking water and for food. Despite this, marine habitats are far less understood than their terrestrial counterparts and are faced with increasing threats.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are areas of the sea that are protected (to varying degrees) from human activities in order to conserve the natural or historic environment.
‘Marine reserves’ are a type of MPA in which all extractive and potentially damaging activities are prohibited, such as fishing, dredging, aquaculture and mining. Research, education and some non-extractive leisure activities may be permitted within marine reserves (at managed levels and with mitigation measures in place) where compatible with site protection needs. Marine reserves are sometimes referred to as ‘no-take areas’.