Marine protected areas: Just for show?
In March 2018, Brazil’s government announced two sets of large marine protected areas (MPAs) in the open ocean (about 400,000 km2 each). According to the government’s ambitious plan (1), the total coverage of MPAs under Brazilian national jurisdiction will rise sharply from 1.5 to 25%, in line with an emerging global trend in designation of large MPAs (2). Although these new MPAs presented an opportunity to make progress toward biological priorities, the decision-making process instead reflected uninformed opportunism (3). Rather than meeting conservation goals, the proposed MPAs exemplify poor adherence to best practices in MPA planning in three ways.