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30 percent by 2030? Study maps out how to protect the world’s oceans

11 / 04 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

Scientists have mapped out an enormous network of potential protected areas, covering more than one-third of the world’s oceans, to conserve marine biodiversity threatened by overfishing, emerging deep-sea mining, plastic contamination, and climate change. They released a report outlining the network on April 4, a day before the conclusion of the second round of negotiations at the United Nations toward a landmark treaty to address the ongoing decline of marine biodiversity on the high seas. Report co-author Alex Rogers, a marine biologist at the University of Oxford, said the study puts forward the first detailed plan for a planet-wide network of marine sanctuaries. The sanctuaries would dot the globe from pole to pole, represent all marine ecosystem categories, and provide migration corridors for sea life. They would be fully protected from all human exploitation, including industrial fishing and deep-sea mining, according to the report. “This can be seen as one of a number of measures that we must take to stop the degradation of the ocean,” Rogers told Mongabay. While the sanctuary network by no means offers an exhaustive solution, he said, “it will provide a good basis to protect and conserve the astounding diversity of marine life.” Two fishing vessels at sunset. Photo via Max Pixel (CC0 1.0). Rogers has seen firsthand the harmful effects of human activity on the otherworldly ecosystems beneath the ocean’s surface during more than 25 years exploring the deep sea and coral reefs. On expeditions to a chain of largely unexplored vents in the…

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