Re: Brazil to create marine reserves

In March 2018, Brazil has announced the creation of two new large marine protected areas (MPAs) that cover an impressive 92 million ha. The announcement, made during the 8th World Water Forum, takes the protected area in Brazil from a mere 1.5% to 25% of its Exclusive Economic Zone. This has won considerable plaudits in the media and internationally, with claims that Brazil has surpassed its commitment to the international Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity requiring that “at least 10% of marine and coastal areas” is protected by 2020 (2).

Superficially Brazil’s announcement appears to represent significant progress towards protecting biodiversity, but the devil is in the detail. The Aichi Biodiversity Targets require “effectively and equitably managed ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas…”. Brazil encompasses a great diversity of marine environments and biodiversity from 4°N – 33°S latitude. Simply increasing the oceanic area under protection, with little consideration of the ecological representativeness of the protected area network and its connectivity, does not achieve this.

Reproduced from the original e-letter published in Science 8 May 2018

For more details see

Costa, M.D.P., Richardson, A.J., Muelbert, J.H., Mills, M., Possingham, H.P., Wilson, K.A. 2018. Re: Brazil to create marine reserves.  Published e-letter: doi: 10.1126/science.359.6381.1196