For Immediate Release
May 6, 2021
Lance Morgan, Lance.Morgan@marine-conservation.org, 707-217-8242 (cell)
Mike Gravitz, Michael.Gravitz@marine-conservation.org, 301-351-5052 (cell)
[Glen Ellen, CA] As an organization of marine scientists, Marine Conservation Institute enthusiastically supports the Biden administration “goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030” because good science shows that is the minimum level of protection the oceans need to prevent species extinctions, loss of biodiversity and diminishing abundance of important marine life as climate change and other human stressors intensify. [i] We applaud the release of the initial plan from the Department of Interior that shows how to achieve that transformational goal while at the same time balancing stakeholder’s interests.
More specifically, we support a high level of protection for at least 30% of each representative area in our oceans and lands to be conserved permanently by 2030. We envision a time when representative areas of the ocean sustain abundance and diversity of marine life, normal age and size of individuals, and balanced systems that will make these areas more resistant to climate change and will boost fish populations in neighboring areas. Without strong marine protected areas to counter impacts from climate change, the health of our oceans will almost certainly continue to decline. With effective marine protected areas, we can change this trend line.
Our campaign, One Third for Nature, aligns with President Biden’s executive order and will help heal the broken relationship between humans and nature. Forging a new relationship between people and nature will not be easy; we currently take more from nature than it can sustain which is why climate, forests, biodiversity and especially the ocean are in serious decline. The idea of One Third for Nature is a groundbreaking paradigm: giving one third of the natural world “back to itself” will allow ecosystems to heal and rebalance.
There is a common misconception that the conservation community wants to protect 30% of lands and waters, including the ocean, out of a naïve desire to do something good for nature and the creatures who live in the wild. But the truth is that as our scientific understanding of natural systems expands, it is clear that our own survival and wellbeing are at stake, too.
President Biden’s extraordinary 30 by 30 pledge brings us back to the roots of Marine Conservation Institute when we advocated in the early 2000s for the creation of very large marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean, notably the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in N.W. Hawaii waters, the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument and Rose Atoll. Today, we continue that work by striving to protect the diverse seamounts (ancient underwater volcanoes) off the California coast, the expansion of the Galapagos Archipelago Marine Park, and the western Aleutian Islands and Pribilof Islands in Alaska, among others.
We are eager to engage with the Biden administration’s far-sighted efforts to restore and protect the health of our lands and waters. For example, our Atlas of Marine Protection (www.MPAtlas.org) could contribute greatly to the administration’s American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas which will mark progress towards achieving these goals. When we reach One Third for Nature, what a balanced and beautiful world awaits all of us who call this blue planet home!
About Marine Conservation Institute (www.marine-conservation.org)
Marine Conservation Institute, founded in 1996, works in the U.S. and globally to seek strong protection for at least 30% of the ocean by 2030—for us and future generations. Our focus on protecting the ocean’s most important places follows several lines of work: identifying and advocating for strong marine protected areas; improving laws and other tools to better conserve marine biodiversity; catalyzing effective conservation by recognizing and elevating the best marine protected areas as Blue Parks and Blue Sparks; and accurately reporting on conservation efforts with our Marine Protection Atlas (MPAtlas.org).