Our oceans are in crisis. Hardly a week goes by without another major study linking the loss of marine biodiversity with human activity. Scientists repeatedly warn that many ocean ecosystems are fast approaching tipping points whereby they will be changed for ever. There is a growing realisation that the wholesale degradation of our seas and oceans is likely to have a profound impact on us all as vital services provided by ocean ecosystems are disrupted, threatening food security and the very survival of millions of people.
However, there is hope. Evidence garnered from all around the globe shows that the creation of marine reserves – areas of ocean set aside as off-limits to fishing, fossil fuel extraction and other industrial activities – can protect and restore ocean ecosystems. Furthermore, by creating networks of marine reserves and implementing sustainable management in the surrounding waters, not only can we conserve marine species and habitats but also ensure fish for the future.