2 Oct 2010

Marine and Coastal Biodiversity – Policy Briefing

By Nick Askew

This is an extract from the BirdLife Policy Brief for CBD COP-10, Nagoya - Marine Coastal Biodiversity

The marine pelagic environment is the largest realm on Earth, constituting 99% of the biosphere volume. In addition to supplying more than 80% of the fish consumed by humans, pelagic ecosystems account for nearly half of the photosynthesis on Earth, directly or indirectly support almost all marine life and play a major role in the rate and extent of climate change.

To date, marine species and habitats receive almost negligible levels of effective protection from major anthropogenic threats compared with terrestrial habitats, particularly in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). Currently terrestrial protected areas cover 12.2% of the planet’s surface area, whereas Marine Protected Areas occupy only 5.9% of the world’s territorial seas and less than 0.5% of ABNJ; overall less than 1% of the ocean surface has even nominal designation as protected areas.