Safeguarding marine biodiversity

Marine reserves help protect and preserve areas of our oceans that are rich in biodiversity, ecologically significant and vulnerable to destruction. These areas are closed to all extractive uses, such as fishing, mining, oil exploration, waste dumping etc. There is growing scientific evidence suggesting that large-scale networks of marine reserves are urgently needed to protect marine species and their habitats.

Marine reserves are not just about preserving fish stocks. They are an essential global tool to protect entire ecosystems. Marine reserves will help increase the planet’s ability to adapt to the effects of climate change and carbon pollution.

Coastal seas can also be protected with the help of marine reserves. Here, marine reserves can have ‘core’ zones, where no human activities are allowed. These can be areas of scientific reference or areas having particularly sensitive habitats or species. Other areas may remain open to small-scale, sustainable, non-destructive fisheries. Greenpeace firmly believes that marine reserves must be declared only with the consent and participation of communities that stand to be affected by the reserve in question.

Campaign story:

Less than 0.3% of India’s waters (including the 2 million sq. km. Exclusive Economic Zone) are under some form of legal protection, where extraction is either prohibited or restricted. A large, economically disadvantaged population in India depends on fisheries and related activities for primary sustenance and livelihood. The high level of direct resource dependence coupled with a lack of community consultation has generated resistance towards many marine reserves on the coast of mainland India.

While fishing communities support measures to protect their fish resources, they want local communities to be involved in making decisions over which areas need to be protected, how and to what extent.

This was clear at a symposium on marine reserves organised by Greenpeace in 2007. The symposium was attended by fisher community representatives from across India.  These representative expressed support for marine reserves, set up with prior involvement of communities to protect marine resources from all threats. Thus, community involvement in designing and enforcing marine reserves in India, particularly in the coastal zone, is indispensable.  

Greenpeace is campaigning on Orissa’s east coast, to help the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary become a model for better biodiversity conservation and a tool for fisheries management that addresses potential conflicts between conservation and livelihoods. A successful model in Orissa will become reference for marine conservation in the rest of India.

The latest updates

 

Governments must confront climate change in 2013

Blog entry by Kumi Naidoo | January 14, 2013

Blog also published on the Guardian's Sustainable Business Blog. I hope I am wrong. But in 2013, we can expect to witness more devastating extreme weather events, fuelled and supercharged by the destructive power of a warming...

Water woes: when every drop counts

Blog entry by Dr Pallavi Singh | January 9, 2013

As a child I once came across this phrase 'Water water everywhere, not a single drop to drink'. Though always amused, my young mind could never quite envisage the gravity of the above lines. Years later, I can perhaps now imagine how...

8 reasons why Shell can't be trusted in the Arctic

Blog entry by franziska_g | January 8, 2013

Shell's most recent 'mishap' a few days ago was not the first setback the oil giant has suffered in its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. In fact, it's the eighth in a growing list of reasons why Shell should not be trusted in the...

Young Eyes for the Planet

Blog entry by Tom Wang | December 11, 2012

An interview with Françoise Callier There are lots of very busy people here at the 8th Angkor Photo Festival. This throng of hard-working people includes young talents from around Asia seeking recognition, agencies hunting for new...

The climate change story at Angkor Photo Festival

Blog entry by John Novis | December 5, 2012

Tonight, on a very warm evening in Siem Reap, Cambodia I gave my presentation at the Angkor Photo Festival as part of their nightly slide show screenings.  The setting was the gardens of the famous Foreign Correspondence Club, a site...

Convention on Biological Diversity: whimper rather than a bang

Blog entry by Abhishek Srivastavaa | October 24, 2012

The world gathered in India last week, with almost 15,000 delegates from 193 nations enraptured in chalking out a plan to tackle the decline in biodiversity by 2020. The summit seemed too big to fail, especially considering the...

India must get its own house in order on biodiversity

Blog entry by Vanessa Atkinson | October 11, 2012

It's hard to throw a party and expect your guests to behave better than you do. Yet that is exactly what the Indian government is doing as it hosts a major international conference on biodiversity in Hyderabad. There's a word for that...

Finding Heart In The Melting Arctic

Image gallery | September 19, 2012

Finding heart in the melting Arctic

Blog entry by Sara Ayech | September 19, 2012

The record has already been broken – but it is about to be shattered. This isn't the kind of record you wish to remember and tell your grandchildren about. This is no tale of great sporting achievement like Usain Bolt smashing...

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