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Reinventing Residual Reserves in the Sea

By Rodolphe Devillers, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Satelite image of the Great Barrier Reef

Satelite image of the Great Barrier Reef (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new article titled “Reinventing residual reserves in the sea: are we favouring ease of establishment over need for protection?” have been published in the journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. The article analyses the relationship between the location of marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world (with a focus on Australia and the Great Barrier Reef) and extractive activities (fishing and oil and gas). It shows that MPA locations tend to be biased towards areas that present low economic interest, often being selected for their ease of establishment (low political cost, low conflict with stakeholders) at the cost of biodiversity conservation. The paper criticises the current international area-based targets for marine conservation as well as the recent trend for large remote MPAs which should only be, in our view, a modest part of the solution. The paper authored by Associate Prof Rodolphe Devillers and colleagues is publicly available at


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