In 2003 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recommended that an effectively managed global network of marine protected areas (MPAs) should be in place by 2012, and that 20-30% of marine habitats should be included within strictly protected areas, where all damaging activities are prohibited. 2013 has arrived and this target is still a long way away (recent analysis shows that we are still under 3% of MPA coverage globally).

In 2010 the 193 countries that are Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) committed to designating at least 10% of the global marine environment as MPAs by 2020. However, progress towards this target has been painfully slow and at the current rate of designation it is unlikely that 10% will be achieved by 2020.

Is 10% enough?

Given the increasing pressures on the ocean, designating just 10% as MPAs is not ambitious enough and won’t provide adequate protection for marine habitats and species. Scientific research tells us that more of the ocean needs to be protected, and we, the Marine Reserves Coalition, support the call for 30% of the marine environment to be protected within marine reserves.

Restoring the oceans will take time. We need to act now.