Official MPA map ver. 3

In order to evaluate progress towards achieving the global targets in the marine environment the WDPA is used to track the rate of change via the Protected Planet Reports, the SDG process as well as several academic publications see for example "Evaluating official marine protected area coverage for Aichi Target 11: appraising the data and methods that define our progress" Thomas et al. 2014). The progress in growth in the MPA network, resulting from a combination of new sites being created,existing sites being expanded and a number of large sites being announced, will contribute even more to an increase in the total protected area coverage. An important tool in tracking the continued evolution of the global MPA network is the "Official MPA map" series developed in conjunction with IUCN which utilises versions of the WDPA to highlight progress in reaching the global targets.

Statistics and Map

The third "Official MPA map", available here, was made available for the CBD COP in December 2016 in conjunction with the Protected Planet 2016 Report. The latest figures highlight that:

  1. 12.7% of coastal & marine areas under national jurisdiction are covered by marine protected areas (Exclusively No Take = 3.09%)
  2. 0.25% of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction are covered by marine protected areas
  3. 5.1% of the Global Oceans are covered by marine protected areas (Exclusively No Take = 1.23%)

#Note: All statistics are based upon the December 2016 version of the WDPA.

#Note: Only sites that are classified as Designated are included in this analysis and map. See here for more details on how we calculate figures.

Discussion

The progress in growth in the MPA network, resulting from a combination of new sites being created, existing sites being expanded and a number of large sites being announced, will contribute even more to an increase in the total protected area coverage.

Following on from designating the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve, with an area of over 800,000 km², as well as the St Helena Marine Protected Areas, with an areas of 444,916 km², the UK has announcement of two further marine protected areas around Ascension Island (at 445,390 km²) and Tristan da Cunha (at 750,510 km²) to be designated by 2019 and 2020

In New Zealand, the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill would establish a 620,000 km² fully protected marine sanctuary that would cover an area of approximately 15% of New Zealand's the Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ – from the shoreline to 200 nautical miles). Once passed, this bill would significantly enhance the existing protection of this area

In October 2016 the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) reached consensus on a New Zealand/United States proposal to establish a large-scale marine protected area in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. The Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area, will come into force on the 1st of December 2017, covers 1.55 million km², of which 1.12 million km² or 72%, is fully protected (No-Take Area). It will be the world's largest Marine Protected Area. The duration of the MPA has been set at 35 years for the General Protection Zone, with a consensus decision by the CCAMLR membership required to continue the MPA beyond this period.This site would increase the percentage coverage of the global ocean from 5.1% to 5.55%.

In November 2016 Canada designated the Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area in the Beaufort Sea in the western Canadian Arctic, this site covers 2,361 km²

On the 6th of December at the CBD COP, Mexico announced the designation of three large Marine Protected Areas: Pacífico Mexicano Profund, Reserva de la Biosfera Caribe Mexicano and Reserva de la Biosfera Islas del Pacífico which will bring the percentage of their national waters covered by protected areas to over 20%. Also at the CBD COP the United Arab Emirates has announced the creation of 4 new Marine Protected Areas off of Abu Dhabi.

On the 12th of December 2016 France announced that it would be expanding the existing Réserve naturelle nationale des Terres australes françaises in the French Overseas territory (Territoire d'outre-mer) of French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Terres australes et antarctiques françaises) to 672,696km² (including 7,700km² of land), this includes several zones where all fishing is prohibited.


Further Information

For further discussion on the global update of all protected areas in 2016 please go here.