Honolulu, Hawaii— Marine Conservation Institute, a leader in securing strong protection for the world’s oceans, applauds the nations and organizations at the IUCN World Conservation Congress for approving a motion (Motion #53) that urges world leaders to protect 30% of the planet’s oceans by 2030. A week after President Obama visited Midway Atoll and snorkeled in its gorgeous lagoon in the northwest Hawaiian Islands to celebrate quadrupling the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to be the largest protected area on Earth (580,000 sq. miles of islands and ocean), leaders from over 180 countries and 700 conservation organizations from around the world passed Motion #53, encouraging nations to strive for 30% ocean protection.
The motion won by large majorities among nations and organizations. It passed with 89% of nations voting yes (129 to 16 with 35 abstaining or not voting). It passed by an even larger margin -94%- among conservation groups (621 to 37 with 52 abstaining or not voting). Marine Conservation Institute and many other ocean organizations sponsored the motion and worked hard on its passage. But the designation of the world’s largest marine reserve at the beginning of the IUCN meeting by President Obama likely had a key inspirational impact on delegates too.
Dr. Lance Morgan, president of the Marine Conservation Institute, who was in Honolulu said, “A week ago at the IUCN Congress we celebrated when the United States set aside the largest protected area on our Planet in the nearby Pacific Ocean, and today this visionary motion to protect oceans and marine wildlife worldwide has passed by large margins.” He added, “This is terrific news and will surely create momentum for establishing more marine reserves around the world in coming years. We hope it will inspire the countries coming to the Our Oceans 2016 conference in Washington, DC next week to step up and make bolder marine reserve commitments there.”
Fully protected, marine reserves are the most cost-efficient and effective type of marine protected area for creating resilient seas that are better able to withstand ocean warming and increasing acidity. Marine reserves prohibit all extractive practices such as fishing, mining, dredging and oil and gas development, delivering the tangible conservation benefits like rebuilding overfished populations, that communities need and expect from protecting these areas. Research of marine scientists supports at least 30 percent of each marine biogeographic region needs protection in order to avert large-scale extinction in the oceans as temperatures and acidity rises in the next few decades.
Dr. Morgan continued, “Our oceans face myriads of problems; they can recover, but they need humans to act like real stewards of ‘creation’. If we want climate resilience and services from our oceans we must designate marine reserves, safeguard critical habitats for fish and other wildlife, protect areas of the high seas with a new UN agreement and lower emissions of CO2 pollution.” He added, “We know how to fix the oceans but now we need the political will and public support to make hard decisions before it’s too late. Last week, President Obama made such a decision on our behalf by vastly expanding the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. ”
To provide guidance about where to best place the 30% of the ocean that needs protection, Marine Conservation Institute developed an initiative called the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES, pronounced “glories”), a strategic, science-based way to safeguard global marine ecosystems by 2030. GLORES aims to improve existing marine protection efforts by identifying the most important marine locations and ensuring that these areas receive strong, consistent and permanent protection through the implementation of marine reserves.
About Marine Conservation Institute
Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly-experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)—a strategic, cost-effective way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. Founded in 1996, Marine Conservation Institute is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization with offices in Seattle, near San Francisco and in Washington DC. To enhance marine protection efforts in the US and around the globe, Marine Conservation Institute has built the world’s most comprehensive online marine protected area database at www.MPAtlas.org.
For more information, please go to: www.marine-conservation.org
For more information, media and bloggers only, please contact:
Lance Morgan, President
Marine Conservation Institute
Phone- +1 707 217-8242 (cell)
Mike Gravitz, Director of Policy and Legislation
Marine Conservation Institute
Phone- +1 351-5052 (cell)