These recent articles or preprints on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.

Article: Suchley, A. & Alvarez-Filip, L. “Local human activities limit marine protection efficacy on Caribbean coral reefs.” Conservation Letters e12571 (2018)

Finding: This study of seven coral reef MPAs and nearby unprotected areas in the Mexican Caribbean – a region with burgeoning coastal development in recent decades – found that coral cover was positively related to protected status, but was significantly lower at sites near elevated local human activity. The authors call on policy makers to acknowledge the impact of uncontrolled coastal development on corals and to apply stronger regulations.

Preprint: Magris, R. A. & Pressey, R. L. “Marine protected areas: Just for show?” Science 360, 723.2 – 724 (2018)

Finding: The authors question the wisdom of designating large, open-ocean MPAs as an effective conservation strategy. They make the case that the recent planning of two such MPAs in Brazil adhered poorly to best practices in conservation planning.  

Article: Sala, E. et al. “Assessing real progress towards effective ocean protection.” Marine Policy 91, 11 – 13 (2018).

Finding: The authors state that only 3.6% of the ocean is in MPAs that have been implemented with active management – as opposed to simply being announced or designated. And only 2% is implemented in MPAs that are fully protected (no-take) or strongly protected (recreational or artisanal fishing allowed). They argue that current protection is often overestimated because it includes areas that are not yet actually protected, and that areas that allow significant extractive activities such as fishing should not count as protected.

For a free, weekly list of the latest publications on ocean planning and management, including MPAs, subscribe to the OpenChannels Literature Update here.

In addition, OCTO – the organization that produces MPA News and OpenChannels – also runs MarXiv, the free research repository for marine conservation science and marine climate change science. Each week the MarXiv team produces brief, one-page summaries of selected papers in its repository for an audience of managers and policymakers. Share your research in MarXiv now and we may summarize your paper, too!