Capacity shortfalls hindering the performance of MPAs globally by David Gill of Conservation International and George Mason University


Over the past two decades, marine protected areas (MPAs) have become a prominent tool to conserve marine ecosystems globally. Many unanswered questions remain regarding the ecological impacts of MPAs and the linkages between MPA management and resulting impacts, however. Using a global database of management and fish population data (433 and 218 MPAs, respectively), the authors of a major new study published in Nature found that most MPAs positively impact marine fish populations and that the magnitude of these impacts are strongly associated with available staff and budget capacity. Despite the critical role of MPA management, only 35 percent of MPAs globally reported acceptable funding and only 9 percent globally reported adequate staffing. While the global community focuses on expanding the current MPA network, these results emphasize the importance of meeting capacity needs in current and future MPAs to ensure the effective conservation of marine species. Find information about the study at https://www.openchannels.org/literature/16775. Webinar co-sponsored by the NOAA National MPA Center, MPA News, and the EBM Tools Network (co-coordinated by NatureServe and OpenChannels.org).