Area-based fishery management is key for SIDS to reach global marine biodiversity conservation goals

SIDS are innovating in the Blue Economy by advancing ocean conservation through locally managed marine areas. In 2010 the Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 was adopted, calling for conserving 10 percent of the ocean through marine protected areas (MPAs) and “other effective area-based conservation measures” (OECMs), explicitly recognizing that other types of spatial conservation measures beyond areas designated as MPAs may also achieve biodiversity gains. SIDS are advancing MPA management as well as OECMs through establishing sustainable use principles, broader ecosystem management objectives, and more general biodiversity conservation goals. Many spatial management approaches with primary objectives related to fisheries sustainability provide co-benefits for biodiversity, and hence biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.  

Growing demands and pressures on marine and coastal environments are resulting in inequitable and unwelcome outcomes for social–environmental systems, and the integration of effective marine management and conservation has never been greater. Commitments to using area management is prominent in both the 2030 Agenda and decadal plans for the conservation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including a draft target to increase the coverage of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures from 10 to 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. Although progress toward the global area-based management targets has accelerated, there remains skepticism regarding whether global aspirations will be met. 

Well-managed MPAs have been shown to deliver effective conservation within their boundaries in many regions, strengthening calls and advocacy for MPAs to be the principal method for conserving marine biodiversity. Some studies have also highlighted their shortcomings, with MPAs receiving criticism for risks to vulnerable coastal populations reliant on the oceans for food and livelihoods, and poor design and management. One challenge in MPA management is in establishing sustainable and appropriate financial and human capital. Finding the financial support to fund biodiversity conservation is challenging, and often is successful only when linked with community livelihood opportunities. 


Image: Francisco Blaha

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