New Report – Marine Protected Areas in Europe and the United States

IEEP and our partner, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have published a report on ‘Marine Protected Areas in Europe and the United States’.

This report includes the main conclusions of our joint project - Transatlantic Platform for Action on the Global Environment (T-PAGE) which began in December 2006. T-PAGE has provided a platform for debate to stimulate dialogue and exchange of experiences between environmental NGOs, academia and other interested civil society organisations in the EU and U.S. on the role of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the conservation of marine biodiversity. Together they have analysed policies with respect to MPAs, focusing on areas of convergence and divergence and key issues for political debate. The project has been co-funded by the European Commission within the framework of a programme to promote transatlantic dialogues at the non-governmental level.

This report includes research papers produced during the course of the project. The papers include overviews of EU and U.S. legislation and actions to implement MPAs and a series of case studies from the EU and U.S. to serve as practical examples of establishing MPA networks. Case studies include the OSPAR MPA network in the North-East Atlantic; the designation of MPAs in Belgium; establishing MPAs in the Florida Keys; and the MPA network in California’s Channel Islands.

The project culminated in a major conference held in Brussels in May 2008. At this conference participants agreed that despite legal obligations to implement MPAs, the actual degree of implementation remains an ongoing challenge. Regarding the issue of building support for the establishment of networks of MPAs, experiences on both sides of the Atlantic have shown that it is difficult to prescribe a single best approach as both top-down and bottom-up approaches have proven successful in different circumstances. Participants agreed that the lack of science was delaying further implementation of MPAs and advocated the use of the precautionary approach in decisions on MPA designation and implementation. Participants highlighted the importance of monitoring and evaluation and monitoring and enforcement. Regarding high seas MPAs, participants agreed there is a need for more comprehensive management of areas beyond national jurisdiction to protect high seas resources, vulnerable species and habitats.

Download: Marine Protected Areas in Europe and the United States (PDF)

For further information on the T-PAGE project, please visit the project website