Two years ago, Palau designated 193,000 square miles of its maritime territory as a protected marine reserve – meaning no fishing or mining could take place. The result of protecting this vast area of ocean has been extraordinary. The island of Palau is said to be smaller than New York City, however the marine reserve that was protected has become larger than the state of California! Providing solid evidence that if our oceans are protected and allowed to flourish without interference, ecosystems will succeed in becoming thriving environments for our marine creatures.
We have also seen similar results in Monterey Bay in California, an area infamous for its wildlife coming back from the brink of death thanks to crucial conservation work that spanned a 40-year period, which has resulted in a successful ecosystem. Scores of people flock to the area which has over 34 species of marine animals, but is best-known for its sea otters and the fantastic displays put on by Orcas and Humpback whales.
Both of these cases prove how essential it is for us to preserve as much of our oceans as possible. The ecosystems within them are so fragile and easily harmed, which can have a huge impact on other areas of life – marine and human. Happy fish produce more offspring, which means there are more fish that spill over into non-protected waters where local fisheries and local communities benefit from the catches – it really is the circle of life!
Sadly, only 1.6% of the world’s oceans are currently protected, so at APE we are hoping that continuing to raise awareness of the plight of our oceans, more countries will start implementing more protected areas, so that we can all benefit.