Marine protected areas (MPA) refer to the zones in which human activity has been placed under some restrictions for protection and restoration of the natural environment, its surrounding waters and the occupant ecosystems, and any cultural or historical resources that may require preservation or management. They play a dominant role in protecting marine biodiversity, ecosystem function and sustaining healthy coastal communities. MPA is relevant to biodiversity and scale, legal and compliance, and socio-culture (IUCN & UNEP-WCMC, 2010). It is a site-scale unit that is essential for conservation of marine biodiversity and maintenance of productivity of oceans. Also, the protection of MPA is integrated into various policies and environmental safeguards of international financial institutions. Besides, MPAs are recognized as traditional practices, cultural values, rights and involvement of local/indigenous communities in protection, use and management.
This essay focuses on controversy surrounding MPAs. It discusses the direct benefits of marine protected areas, followed by the reasons why commercial and recreational fishers are against the designation of MPAs. Last, it proceeds with a personal judgement on the role and relevance of marine reserves with the case of Phoenix Islands Protected Area.
Marine protected areas have brought a number of direct benefits in terms of biological diversity, fisheries, science, recreation and tourism, and education. * Biological diversity
MPA mitigate or even avoid risks of diversity loss by providing refuges for species and protects their habitats that support their livelihood without human disturbance. It also facilitates the protection of unique, endemic, rare, and threatened species over a fragmented habitat (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2011). * Fisheries
MPAs have improved fish catch and led to stable catch levels. The species are able to spawn or to produce eggs and grow to...