PUBLIC LECTURE: The Importance of Marine Protected Areas for Our Oceans
|The Importance of Marine Protected Areas for Our Oceans : A public lecture - part of the 2016 Our Ocean conference
This satellite event is part of the 2016 Our Ocean Conference. Held in Washington, D.C. on September 15-16 and hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the conference focuses on the key ocean issues of our time – marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts on the ocean. Ocean wildlife such as sharks and tunas are in decline globally, with some populations reduced by up to 90% of their abundance pre-industrialised fishing. Marine pollution and ocean
warming place further pressure on overexploited species. The loss of these predators is of significant concern from not only a biodiversity perspective but due to their role as ecosystem regulators in healthy oceans. Large “big blue” marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly established to halt and reverse declines in ocean wildlife and to protect examples of intact ocean ecosystems. In the US, President Obama recently announced the
expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii to 1.5 million square kilometres (582,578 square miles), now the largest contiguous MPA in the world. Australia is the world’s first (and only) nation to zone its entire Exclusive Economic Zone into a multiple-use network of Commonwealth Marine Reserves, covering some 1.7 million square kilometres (656,374 square miles). These and other large MPAs reflect significant investments in ocean conservation by governments and have at times been polarising. Today’s presentation will highlight innovative world-first research being undertaken at the University of Western Australia to determine how large MPAs increase resilience in our ocean wildlife and support its recovery and build community support for Our Oceans.
Professor Jessica Meeuwig is the Director of the Centre for Marine Futures and a member of the UWA Oceans Institute and School of Animal Biology. Her lab primarily documents the structure of reef and open water fish communities using innovative video techniques to understand how these communities respond to climate change, overfishing and other human impacts. Professor Meeuwig’s team has a particular focus on the role of
marine protected areas in supporting ocean resilience. She is a Conservation Fellow of the Zoological Society of London.
This event is co-sponsored by the UWA Oceans Institute, Perth USAsia Centre and the U.S. Consulate General Perth.
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