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

 

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

Image gallery | September 19, 2012

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...

The fight for Green Telecom

Blog entry by Greenpeace | September 3, 2012

Indian telecom sector has witnessed an exponential growth over the past decade. On the last count, the number of mobile subscribers in India is almost 951 million and growing. The growth story can also be illustrated by the fact that...

Identifying Conservation Needs in India's Offshore Waters

Publication | August 21, 2012 at 15:07

At Rio+20, a global summit on sustainable development which took place in June 2012, the international community pledged to re-double efforts for conservation and restoration of the seas. India now has the opportunity to show the world its own...

How coal mining is trashing tigerland

Publication | August 1, 2012 at 16:35

This report makes the case that the biggest threat to the long term survival of the Royal Bengal Tiger in its largest contiguous landscape- Central India- has been overlooked by the Indian government and its administrative machinery. That threat...

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