Marine reserves have a positive impact on all issues affecting the ocean, from overfishing and plastic waste to acidification, because they promote and enhance the ocean's resilience and capability to recover.
In June 2010 250 leading marine scientists called for the establishment of a worldwide system of very large, highly protected marine reserves as 'an essential and long overdue contribution to improving stewardship of the global oceanic environment.'
The importance of this issue is not lost on world leaders. Some 193 countries meeting in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010 agreed to raise nature reserves to 10% of the world's marine and coastal areas by 2020. In the US, President Obama established a comprehensive national policy for the stewardship of the oceans. In English waters, the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) will create Marine Conservation Zones, though how many of these will be no-take remains to be seen.
BLUE will undertake awareness-raising and profile-raising research for marine conservation as well as, with like-minded partners, developing best practice in how to create and maintain sustainable marine reserves.
Top left: Existing and proposed marine reserves, map by David E. Chandler for the Pew Environment Group © Pew 2010
Bottom left: Marine Fisheries enforcement platform, The Coral Triangle, Tubbataha, Philippines. © George Duffield 2007