Are Marine Protected Areas a relevant tool for the Pacific?
Marine protected areas (MPAs) offer a solution for countries in the region to manage their maritime space. Access to scientific data is required to set MDA.
In the Pacific, small island developing states want to empower themselves to be great ocean nations. Compared to their number of inhabitants, the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of island countries such as the Cook Islands (112 km² of EEZ/inhabitant) or the Marshall Islands (33 km²) are much larger than those of countries such as France (0.18 km2) or the UK (0,1 km²).
At the same time, the budget these countries can devote to managing their EEZ is much smaller. Marine resources are central to the economies of the Pacific region.
More than 60% of the inhabitants of coastal areas depend on fishing. Such a vital resource must be protected and managed in a sustainable way. In addition, adequate surveillance of EEZ is key to discouraging predatory moves and abusive claims by some States.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) offer a solution for countries in the region to manage their maritime space. Access to scientific data is required to set MDA. Their economic impact should also be taken into consideration, as most Pacific countries are heavily dependent on marine resources for their development. “Managing an area” can sometimes imply integral protection of it, but rational and sustainable use of the EEZ is also an option. Finally, local ownership by the population is also key. This webinar brings together Oceanian and European experts and decision-makers to understand the many facets of this issue.