Marine life worse off inside ‘protected’ areas, analysis reveals

Destructive trawling is more intense inside official marine sanctuaries, while endangered fish will be more common outside them, a startling analysis of Europe’s seas has revealed.

It implies that not even close conserving sealife, many legal marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being damaged by industrial fishing. The repair has exposed “the big lie” behind European marine conservation, experts say, with most MPAs completely accessible to trawling.

The researchers were able to look at the activity of fishing vessels in great detail thanks to satellite tracking equipment that may be now compulsory on ships. They compared this with scientific data within the health of sea areas and viewed over 700 MPAs, covering 16% of Europe’s territorial waters. In whole, MPAs cover 29% of Europe’s waters.

This shown that commercial trawling activity was on average almost 40% higher inside MPAs compared to unprotected areas. Furthermore, endangered and critically endangered species of fish for example sharks and rays were 5 times more abundant outside of the MPAs.

“It medicine reverse,” said Prof Boris Worm, at Dalhousie University in Canada, who led the analysis. “When something is termed a protected area, this task has to be protected. Young children and can that whenever areas have been protected they deliver: species recover, biodiversity increases and fisheries benefit at the same time, as fish become a little more abundant and spill outside these areas.

“One problem we certainly have in the Western european is the fact although the conservation policies for instance MPAs are really a national matter, fisheries are managed through the EU generally. That disconnect may drive many of the problem we notice here. One hand will not understand what one other the first is doing.”

On Wednesday, EU fisheries ministers one more time set plenty of quotas that defied the scientific tips on fish stocks.

Prof Callum Roberts, with the University of York, UK, merely not perhaps the research, said: “This compelling study reveals the best lie behind European marine conservation. To figure, all MPAs should really be resistant to trawling and dredging at a minimum, and quite a few of these should prohibit all fishing.”

The study, published while in the journal Science, saw that 99% within the MPAs did not have details on no-take zones while in the authoritative World Database on Protected Areas and half did not have any management plan. Worm said Europe’s large MPAs did ban activities like mining and dumping, “but the will not address probably the most prevalent industrial activity we’ve got, that is bottom trawling.”

The work echoes a comparable recent study on protected areas on land, which found 1 / 3 of all parks are under intense pressure. “But it’s worse inside the oceans,” said Worm.

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The cause for MPAs being worse at conserving marine life than unprotected areas may be considering that the MPAs cover those areas of the sea which are richest in fish, consider some of the same places which fishing vessels target with a minimum of restriction.

“If the MPAs were enforced they could remain in the ideal place, because that could be where the many fish are,” said Fr


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