Marine protected areas

Why is this an issue for ACOPS?

Marine protected areas (MPAs) 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 by UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.

There are significant knowledge gaps concerning those species and habitats worthy of protection.  Work is underway to develop ecologically coherent networks of MPAs.

Many of the organisations that ACOPS works with have their own systems to set aside areas for marine protection (e.g., ISA, IMO).

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.

Through his role as Coordinator of the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative, Professor David Johnson is engaged with the UN process to develop an Implementing Agreement for the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).

Future intentions

ACOPS will help States and Competent International Organisations work towards meeting their commitments under Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 and Sustainable Development Goal 14, Target 14.5.

Subject to resources, ACOPS will participate in meetings of the OSPAR Intersessional Correspondence Group on MPAs.

In 2017 ACOPS convened a House of Lords dialogue to discuss UK MPAs and marine protected areas in UK Overseas territories and High Seas.