A Massive New Marine Protected Area Network in Gabon

A pair of bottlenose dolphins frolic in the waters of Mayumba National Park, previously the country's only national park dedicated to the protection of marine species and one of the locations of a recent coastal survey by WCS, National Geographic, and Gabon's Agence Nationale de Parcs Nationaux (ANPN).Photo credit: Sophie Bedel ©WCS

By John Robinson

Sydney, Australia

The first day of the IUCN 2014 World Parks Congress marked a significant win for the oceans.

The President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon announced the decision to create a new marine protected area network of ten marine parks covering more than 18,000 square miles (over 46,000 square kilometres). The network – encompassing about 23 percent of Gabon’s territorial waters and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) – will safeguard whales, sea turtles, and other marine species inhabiting the nation’s coastal and offshore ecosystems.

A pair of bottlenose dolphins frolic in the waters of Mayumba National Park, previously the country’s only national park dedicated to the protection of marine species and one of the locations of a recent coastal survey by WCS, National Geographic, and Gabon’s Agence Nationale de Parcs Nationaux (ANPN).Photo credit: Sophie Bedel ©WCS

As the President noted in his speech, this puts Gabon “near the 20 to 30 percent that marine biologists tell us is needed to maintain biodiversity and restore depleted areas outside parks.” This is a massive increase from the 1 percent of marine area currently protected by Gabon.

President Ali Bongo Ondimba added that the new protected area will include a 27,000 square kilometer expansion of —> Read More Here

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