Marine protected areas need accountability not wasted dollars

Last modified: 
March 23, 2017 - 4:46pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2017
Date published: 02/2017
Authors: Graham Edgar
Journal title: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Volume: 27
Issue: 1
Pages: 4 - 9

In this era of fiscal constraint following the global financial crisis, marine protected areas (MPAs) occupy a remarkable position in the economic landscape. Few government authorities seem concerned about the prevalence of white elephants – illusionary MPAs that carry a financial cost. Whereas no government minister would consider developing a health system based solely on number of hospital beds (irrespective of whether all hospitals are concentrated within a single city, or occupants of beds have access to medical staff, or patients are living or dying), MPAs are largely assessed on a single numerical target (total area). Inconsistent self-identification adds an extra level of opaqueness. The net consequence is an unaccountable and under-performing system, an outcome that is both tragic and economically wasteful.

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