Which parts of the ocean can we protect for the biggest benefit?
Scientists know that protecting the ocean is important for marine species. But new work from an international team has shown how strategically designating marine protected areas may kill three birds with one stone.
In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, researchers have proposed that a global concerted effort to protect a subset of the ocean will have large, sweeping impacts on three key areas: biodiversity, food sustainability and emissions.
The work, published in Nature, presents a flexible framework for nations or international groups to prioritize marine areas to protect. “In this study, we’ve pioneered a new way to identify the places that—if protected—will boost food production and safeguard marine life, all while reducing carbon emissions,” says lead author and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala in a press release.
“It’s clear that humanity and the economy will benefit from a healthier ocean. And we can realize those benefits quickly if countries work together to protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.”