Marine Protected Areas: Overview

Anthias anthiasAccording to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a Marine Protected Area (MPA) is “a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.”

In order to address the need to protect seabeds from such destructive threats as trawling, contamination, anchoring over seagrass beds and illegal fishing, Oceana carries out research and classification campaigns in the marine habitats of the Bay of Biscay,  Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Once the data is analysed, Oceana scientists compile a formal protection proposal for the areas whose characteristics require it and measures are established to carry out and/or request the recuperation of the degraded environments.

Oceana believes it is necessary to study and create marine protected areas in order to halt the degradation of the marine ecosystems. In addition, the information allows management measures to be established for the activities developed in this environment, including fishing. Consequently, protection can be increased for marine and coastal areas, activities in this environment are balanced and sustainable, and citizens respect and accept the protected areas.