The November/December 2010 issue of MPA News reported conclusions from the latest assessment of MPA coverage worldwide – Global Ocean Protection: Present Status and Future Possibilities, published in October by IUCN, UNEP, The Nature Conservancy, and other organizations. The report calculated global MPA coverage to be 4.2 million km2, or 1.17% of the oceans. The lead author of the analysis, Mark Spalding, contacted MPA News to correct that global coverage figure:
“In 2007 New Zealand declared over 1 million km2 of Benthic Protection Areas in off-shelf waters. These sites were declared for biodiversity protection and while their focus is to prevent trawling on the benthos and overlying 100 m, there are also regulations on fishing activities in the entire water column. These sites are in the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) and were included in the report’s analysis; however, a GIS processing error led to the omission of one site and partial omission of another. The latter, in fact, is listed by the WDPA as the world’s largest MPA: the Kermadec Benthic Protection Area, extending over some 617,000 km2. Adding these corrections to the total, the statistic for global MPA coverage should have been 4.7 million km2, or 1.31% of the global ocean surface. Also, the MPA coverage figure for national marine jurisdictions/EEZ areas should be 3.21% and off-shelf areas 1.06%.”
The corrected figures have been inserted on the report website www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/marine/marine_our_work/marine_mpas/mpa_publications.cfm?7040/global-ocean-protection. IUCN is seeking funds to produce a fully corrected PDF.