They're Worth Big Bucks, So Why Are Marine Preserves So Rare?
Photo via Mission Blue via Flickr CC
Marine protected areas are proven to work for rehabilitating a habitat, and bringing a livelihood back to the people living near that area. So why is only about 1% of the ocean protected as a marine reserve? Enric Sala takes us back in time during this TED talk to explore what a pristine reef is supposed to look like, and then explains not just how marine reserves can restore habitat back to that pristine state but also how we can establish the marine reserves in the first place. It's harder than it looks, but not impossible, and looking at Sala's presentation, the results can be better than we ever imagined.
As Sala points out, creating marine preserves is not equal to cutting off potential money-making areas of the ocean to fishermen, as is often argued. Quite the opposite, it can increase the quality of fishermen's catches as well as give them an assured future catch plus income from ecotourism. As Sala puts it, a marine reserve is a savings account and you have to keep up a principle balance in order to maintain an income from it.
Additionally, marine reserves actually create jobs, and for just a fraction of the cost of what we're currently spending on unsustainable fishing subsidies.
Image via Ted Talk
Sylvia Earle's TED wish is to create more marine reserves - or "hope spots" - where we can begin to stabilize the damage we're doing to our oceans and, eventually, return it to the thriving habitat it once was. Now, we just need to get cracking on the overarching To-Do items Sala set forth during his talk. That means making some big changes in governance, funding, and boosting awareness about the innumerable benefits of preserves.
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