A plan to save Earth’s oceans

25 Feb 2020

At least 26 per cent of our oceans need urgent conservation attention to preserve Earth’s marine biodiversity, a University of Queensland-led international study has found.

Dr Kendall Jones said the international community needed to rapidly increase marine conservation efforts to maintain the health of the world’s oceans.

“Preserving a portion of habitat for all marine species would require 8.5 million square kilometres of new conservation areas,” Dr Jones said.

“Currently one-third of all marine species have less than 10 per cent of their range covered by protected areas."

The authors mapped more than 22,000 marine species habitats and applied a mathematical approach to identify the minimum area required to capture a portion of each species range.

They also included areas of international importance for biodiversity (known as Key Biodiversity Areas), and areas where human impacts on the ocean are extremely low (known as marine wildernesses).

They found that the total ocean area required for conservation varied from 26-41 per cent, depending on the proportion of each species range conserved.

Key regions for conservation included the Northern Pacific Ocean near China and Japan, and the Atlantic between West Africa and the Americas.

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