reserves are marine areas given various levels of protection from human
activity. Some of these areas are closed to oil drilling or commercial
fishing. No standard definition exists, but no-take marine reserves are
gaining support from many scientists as a way to protect our oceans.
Marine protected areas or MPAs are defined by the World Conservation
Union as: "Any area of intertidal or subtidal terrain, together with
its overlying water and associated flora, fauna, historical and
cultural features, which has been reserved by law or other effective
means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment."
National Marine Sanctuaries have been established in the US by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These
sanctuaries are generally designed for multiple use and rarely restrict
fishing. Since 1972, NOAA has created 12 national marine sanctuaries,
which represent less than one half of one percent of the ocean
territory under US jurisdiction. In comparison, about 4 percent of our
land area is protected in national parks.
Despite current efforts to regulate fisheries and protect marine
habitat and endangered species, the world's estuaries, oceans, and
coastal waters are increasingly threatened. Only a national and
worldwide network of marine reserves can protect our wild oceans and
abundant marine life for the future.
The benefits of marine reserves include:
o Protecting marine biodiversity
o Increased opportunities for scientific research and education
o Enhanced fisheries
o Economic benefits from tourism and increased property values
Download the Marine Reserve Petition and let Gov Bush know you want a reserve!