In 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity set ambitious marine conservation targets, aiming to protect at least 10% of all marine ecological regions by the year 2012. We have not reached the target. Over the past decade, marine protected areas (MPA) have evolved. Today, MPAs are created not only to conserve seascapes and provide habitat for endangered sea-life, but also to contribute to the livelihoods of local communities, support national economies through tourism revenues, replenish fisheries, and to help adapt to climate change. Yet, many MPAs around the world are "paper-MPAs": marine protection occurs only in theory due to a lack of enforcement and management, the exclusive use of top-down implementation mechanisms, and lack of appropriate funding. As a consequence, if marine conservation is going to meet its targets and goals, there is pressing need to develop complementary approaches to traditional MPAs.
In a new paper led by ACS colleague Stefan Gelich, we explore alternative strategies to marine conservation in Chile, mainly a) the development of business model innovations which could enable biodiversity benefits from territorial user rights fisheries policies and 2) the creation of municipal conservation areas. These "ancillary" conservation initiatives could help scale marine conservation efforts, while also improving local economies. Exploring and supporting alternative complementary marine conservation strategies is particularly relevant in Latin America, if biodiversity conservation initiatives are to scale in coverage, contribute to local communities, and support healthy fisheries. The paper was published in the journal Maritime Studies.
Gelcich S, Peralta L, Donlan CJ, Godoy N, Ortiz V, Tapia-Lewin S, Vargas C, Kein A, Castilla JC, Fernandez M. 2015. Alternative strategies for scaling up marine coastal biodiversity conservation in Chile. Maritime Studies. 14(5):1-13. doi:10.1186/s40152-015-0022-0