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If MPAs and the ecosystems and species within them had a legal right to be healthy and managed well, what effect would this have on sites? According to a campaign that proposes such legal rights, one outcome would be the end of the problem of paper parks. In other words, by allowing citizens to sue their governments on behalf of poorly managed or underfunded MPAs, this would provide a powerful new means to pressure agencies to manage their sites more effectively.

MPA News

By Juan E. Bezaury-Creel, Francisco Ursúa-Guerrero, César Sánchez-Ibarra, and David Gutiérrez-Carbonell

The Revillagigedo National Park was designated by Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto on 27 November 2017, exactly one hundred years after the country´s first national park was created. Revillagigedo is now continental North America´s largest fully protected MPA, covering 148,087 km² – almost twice the size of Panama. No fishing activities, mining, or oil extraction will be allowed within the national park, and only strictly regulated marine tourism activities from liveaboards will be permitted.

MPA News

Three years ago, Chris Cvitanovic and a team of researchers published a study that found that only 14% of the information cited in MPA management plans was from primary scientific sources – from journals, in other words. One reason for this shortfall was that most journal articles require expensive subscriptions, which managers and their agencies cannot afford. This study was the first to document a significant obstacle for MPA managers: management is supposed to be science-based, but most of the science is hidden behind paywalls.

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