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Critical gaps in the protection of the second largest exclusive economic zone in the world
Claudet, J.; Loiseau, C.; Pebayle, A. (2021). Critical gaps in the protection of the second largest exclusive economic zone in the world. Mar. Policy 124: 104379. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104379
In: Marine Policy. Elsevier: UK. ISSN 0308-597X; e-ISSN 1872-9460, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine/Coastal
Author keywords
    Conservation; UN sustainable development goals; Convention on biological diversity; Europe and overseas territories; Marine policy

Authors  Top 
  • Claudet, J.
  • Loiseau, C.
  • Pebayle, A.

Abstract
    A healthy Ocean is critical for achieving sustainable development goals but the Ocean is threatened by multiple stressors. There is a global call to increase the coverage of marine protected areas (MPAs) from 10% to at least 30% by 2030. France, a major actor for marine conservation with the second largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the world, with territories in all Ocean basins but the Arctic, aims at reaching the 30% by 2022, for which one third shall include a strong protection status. However, the strategy to reach this twofold target faces two challenges. First, while some standards exist to classify the levels of protection, France is currently using a case specific, loose approach to define strong protection. Second, there is no criteria that addresses the representativeness of the protection across French Ocean basins. Here, we assess the protection levels of the 524 French MPAs and their distribution across territories and habitats. While 33.7% of France’s waters are covered by an MPA, 12.5% of these areas do not impose regulations stronger inside than outside. Full and high levels of protection, the most effective for biodiversity conservation, represent only 1.6% of French waters and are unevenly distributed across Ocean basins and habitats, with 80.5% concentrated in a single territory. To fill this gap in protection for the second largest exclusive economic zone in the world, it is critical that France’s high ambition is both qualitatively and quantitatively deployed in each Ocean basin to protect our Ocean, its biodiversity and to sustain the livelihood of millions of people.

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