Marine Protected Areas

Why is this an issue for ACOPS?

  • Marine protected areas (MPAs) can provide refuge for threatened and endangered marine biodiversity, as well as serving as scientific reference areas. Global targets for MPA coverage have been set by the Convention on Biological Diversity and in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), including SDG 14 on life below water
  • There are significant knowledge gaps concerning those species and habitats worthy of protection at international and regional levels
  • Work is underway to develop ecologically coherent networks of MPAs in many international and inter-gorvenmental bodies
  • New concepts of Area-Based Management Tools and Area-Based Conservation Measures have developed in the last 10 years, MPAs being one of them
  • The new discourses seek to reconcile the holistic discussion on MPAs with the sectoral legal regimes applicable to activities at sea and restriction of these activities
  • Many of the organisations that ACOPS works with have their own systems to set aside areas for marine protection (e.g. IMO, OSPAR, ISA).

ACOPS activity

  • ACOPS is an Observer to the OSPAR Commission, the Regional Seas Convention for the Protection of the Environment of the North-East Atlantic.
  • Professor David Johnson has taken a specific interest in the OSPAR MPA network and in particular High Seas MPAs, as well as through his role as Coordinator of the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI).
  • ACOPS follows closely and contributes to the evolution of the discussion on MPAs within relevant organisations

Future intentions

  • ACOPS will help States and relevant international and regional organisations work towards meeting their commitments under Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 and Sustainable Development Goal 14.5, in accordance with international marine environmental law including the law of the sea and on the basis of sound science