Gaps in Protection of Important Ocean Areas

For the week of 28 October 2019

Greetings OpenChannels Community Members,

Frontiers in Marine Science has published, Gaps in Protection of Important Ocean Areas: A Spatial Meta-Analysis of Ten Global Mapping Initiatives.

Abstract: To safeguard biodiversity effectively, marine protected areas (MPAs) should be sited using the best available science. There are numerous ongoing United Nations and non-governmental initiatives to map globally important marine areas. The criteria used by these initiatives vary, resulting in contradictions in the areas identified as important. Our analysis is the first to overlay these initiatives, quantify consensus, and conduct gap analyses at the global scale. We found that 55% of the ocean has been identified as important by one or more initiatives, and that individual areas have been identified by as many as seven overlapping initiatives. Using our overlay map and data on current MPA coverage, we highlight gaps in protection of important areas of the ocean. We considered any area identified by two to four initiatives to be of moderate consensus. Over 14% of the ocean fell under this category and most of this area (88%) is not yet protected. The largest concentrations of medium-consensus areas without protection were found in the Caribbean Sea, Madagascar and the southern tip of Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Coral Triangle. Areas of high consensus (identified by five to seven initiatives) were almost always within MPAs, but their no-take status was often unreported. We found that nearly every marine province and nearly every exclusive economic zone contained area that has been identified as important but is not yet protected. Much of the identified area lies within contiguous stretches of >100,000 km2; it is unrealistic to expect that all this area be protected. Nonetheless, our results on areas of consensus provide initial insight into opportunities for further ocean protection.

As always, if we've missed anything, please feel free to let us know. You may simply reply to this message, or you may email Allie directly at: allie [at]

You can read everything (not just the free stuff) we have found this week at

Additionally, you can browse literature by the week we've added it at

Thank you for being part of the OpenChannels Community,
– Allie Brown, Raye Evrard, and the rest of the OpenChannels Team

Aquaculture, Seafood, and Food Security

OA: Zhang, W. et al. Fishing for feed in China: Facts, impacts and implicationsFish and Fisheries (2019). doi:10.1111/faf.12414

Blue Economy

OA: Otero, R. M. Fernán, Bayliss-Brown, G. A. & Papathanassiou, M. Ocean Literacy and Knowledge Transfer Synergies in Support of a Sustainable Blue EconomyFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Climate Change, Ocean Acidification, and Ocean Warming

OA: Schulz, K. G., Hartley, S. & Eyre, B. Upwelling Amplifies Ocean Acidification on the East Australian Shelf: Implications for Marine EcosystemsFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

OA: Henehan, M. J. et al. Rapid ocean acidification and protracted Earth system recovery followed the end-Cretaceous Chicxulub impactProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 201905989 (2019). doi:10.1073/pnas.1905989116

OA: Merino, G. et al. Adaptation of North Atlantic Albacore Fishery to Climate Change: Yet Another Potential Benefit of Harvest Control RulesFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Communication and Education

OA: Barracosa, H., Santos, C. B. de los, Martins, M., Freitas, C. & Santos, R. Ocean Literacy to Mainstream Ecosystem Services Concept in Formal and Informal Education: The Example of Coastal Ecosystems of Southern PortugalFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

OA: Chambers, R. et al. The Marine CoLAB: Taking a CoLABorative, Values Based Approach to Connect People to the OceanFrontiers in Marine Science6, (2019).

OA: Besley, J. C., O’Hara, K. & Dudo, A. Strategic science communication as planned behavior: Understanding scientists’ willingness to choose specific tacticsPLOS ONE 14, e0224039 (2019).

Deep-sea ecosystems and hydrothermal vents

OA: S. Juniper, K., Thornborough, K., Douglas, K. & Hillier, J. Remote monitoring of a deep‐sea marine protected area: The Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 29, 84 - 102 (2019).

Fisheries and Fisheries Management

OA: Tunca, S., Lindegren, M., Ravn-Jonsen, L. & Lindroos, M. Cooperative Fisheries Outperform Non-cooperative Ones in the Baltic Sea Under Different Climate ScenariosFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

OA: Bell, J. B., Guijarro-Garcia, E. & Kenny, A. Demersal Fishing in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction: A Comparative Analysis of Regional Fisheries Management OrganisationsFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

OA: Gownaris, N. J., Santora, C. M., Davis, J. B. & Pikitch, E. K. Gaps in Protection of Important Ocean Areas: A Spatial Meta-Analysis of Ten Global Mapping InitiativesFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

OA: Wenzel, L. et al. You can choose your relatives: Building marine protected area networks from sister sitesAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 29, 152 - 161 (2019).


OA: Kim, Y. Sun et al. A Yellow Sea Monitoring Platform and Its Scientific ApplicationsFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Pollution and Marine Debris

OA: Nakajima, R. et al. A new small device made of glass for separating microplastics from marine and freshwater sedimentsPeerJ 7, e7915 (2019).

OA: Sheth, M. U. et al. Bioengineering a Future Free of Marine Plastic WasteFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Small-scale Fisheries

OA: Sini, M. et al. Small-Scale Coastal Fishing Shapes the Structure of Shallow Rocky Reef Fish in the Aegean SeaFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Social-Ecological Systems and Human Wellbeing

OA: Silva, M. R. O., Pennino, M. G. & Lopes, P. F. M. Social-ecological trends: managing the vulnerability of coastal fishing communitiesEcology and Society24, (2019).

Soundscapes and Acoustics

OA: Erbe, C. et al. The Effects of Ship Noise on Marine Mammals—A ReviewFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

OA: Fawkes, K. William & Cummins, V. Beneath the Surface of the First World Ocean Assessment: An Investigation Into the Global Process’ Support for Sustainable DevelopmentFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Tools and Data

OA: Walcutt, N. L., Knörlein, B., Sgouros, T., Cetinić, I. & Omand, M. M. Virtual Reality and Oceanography: Overview, Applications, and PerspectiveFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

OA: Sullivan, M., Robinson, S. & Littnan, C. Social media as a data resource for #monkseal conservationPLOS ONE 14, e0222627 (2019).

OA: Capotondi, A. et al. Observational Needs Supporting Marine Ecosystems Modeling and Forecasting: From the Global Ocean to Regional and Coastal SystemsFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).