By Charles M. Wahle, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, NOAA Marine Protected Areas Center, Monterey, CA; and
Lauren Wenzel, Acting Director, NOAA Marine Protected Areas Center, Silver Spring, MD
What’s All The Fuss About Marine Protected Areas?
Driven by expanding threats to the world’s oceans, the past two decades have seen growing interest in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a way to conserve ecologically, economically and culturally important places, the habitats they contain, and the ecosystem services they provide. Designed and adaptively managed with sound science and meaningful stakeholder input, MPAs can be important, effective and equitable management tools for sustainably managing human impacts to these special areas. Many people across the ocean conservation spectrum agree that special ocean places should be protected from the impacts of human activities, just as we have done for generations for our most treasured forests, grasslands, mountains and deserts.