Investing in the ocean
The value of the ocean is conservatively estimated at USD 24 trillion
, making it a major contributor to the global economy—but one that is continually being depleted. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have proven to be a successful tool to protect biodiversity and much-needed ocean habitats. MPAs and networks of Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) make ecosystems more resilient in the face of climate change and ocean acidification.
Over 1,900 have been designated in The Coral Triangle—but that’s just 1.6% of the region’s exclusive economic zones. There are not enough effective MPAs, as they often face limited funding, inadequate management, and lack of enforcement.
More than just ‘paper parks’
Because many MPAs in the Coral Triangle are limited to protecting biodiversity and habitats, rather than ensuring fish supply to boost local economies, local communities and enterprises do not necessarily benefit directly.
In many areas, MPAs restrict access to resources, thus getting little support from affected communities, governments, and private businesses. The MPA becomes ineffective—a “paper park.”
Research commissioned by WWF in 2015
has found that expanding and effectively managing MPAs for habitat protection—protecting even just 10% to 30% of marine or coastal areas—can result in benefits worth more than three times the cost of implementation.
These are benefits that can transform communities and industry—enough reason for governments, the private sector, and financial institutions to invest in MPAs.