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Pew Marine Conservation Fellows Call for International Action on Marine Protected Areas

June 06, 2005

Press contact: Susan Altman, 781-526-4714

New York, New York - Thirty-eight of the world's foremost ocean experts issued a joint statement today urging "the nations of the world to fulfill their commitment to the future of the oceans" through active support of Marine Protected Areas.

Dr. Ellen Pikitch, Executive Director of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, announced the statement at the sixth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. She said that the statement calls for local involvement in planning, managing, and implementing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs); linking MPAs into networks; evaluating those networks; and taking global action to restore and maintain marine populations, habitats, and fisheries.

"Establishing a network of representative, fully protected marine reserves is an essential component of the ten recommendations the Task Force has made to set us on the path to environmental sustainability," said Pikitch, a member of the UN's Millennium Task on Environmental Sustainability and a professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

"The future of the world's oceans - and ultimately of ourselves - depends on our taking immediate steps to protect them. The Pew Fellows have outlined a set of priority actions that will help put the oceans on that path to sustainability. Leaders of every nation should view this as an urgent wake-up call, and take action now," she added.

Experts from all areas of marine science and policy agree that the world's oceans are in crisis, as study after respected study shows extreme depletion of fish and marine life. However, powerful scientific evidence continues to accumulate that MPAs can do much to protect ocean life and habitats. Issued by 38 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation, some of the most important voices in ocean conservation today, the statement says, "MPAs are among the most powerful and reliable tools available for marine conservation, whether along the coast or in the open ocean. They help maintain populations and protect habitats, while revealing how areas outside their borders are changing. MPAs serve as elements of a larger, integrated strategy of ocean management."

In addition to Pikitch, the 89 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation include Elliott Norse, Director of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute near Seattle; Kristina Gjerde, High Seas Policy Advisor to the Global Marine Program of IUCN World Conservation Union; and Alan White, Director of the Coastal Resource Management Project in the Philippines. The signatories to the MPA Statement are world-renowned scientists, educators, policy experts, writers, and lawyers, working in every ocean around the globe from Nova Scotia to Patagonia, northern Europe to Tasmania. They have planned and implemented MPAs in locations as far-flung as California, the Philippines, Kenya, Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, and the high seas beyond the jurisdiction of any individual nation.

The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation is an initiative of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, which strives to undertake, sponsor, and promote world-class scientific activity aimed at protecting the world's oceans and the species that inhabit them. Funding for the Pew Institute is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts and other organizations and individuals seeking to preserve and protect the world's oceans.

PDF of MPA Statement

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