Gabon Announces Marine Protected Area Network at UN Ocean Conference

June 5, 2017

Photo Credit: ©Enric Sala/National Geographic

Big news from the United Nations Oceans Conference in New York. President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon announcedhis country's creation of a massive marine protected areas network consisting of nine new marine parks and 11 aquatic reserves.

In addition to providing critical protection for ecological resources and marine species that can serve as a model for Africa and the world, Gabon's new MPAs also provide opportunities for a range of economic, social, and development activities, including fisheries and tourism exploitation.

Alongside this announcement, we announced The Tiffany & Co. Foundation's $1 million dollar grant towards our Marine Protected Area (MPA) Fund. The grant will be instrumental in the Fund's mission to establish and strengthen MPAs around the world.

Research has found that MPAs are critical for conserving marine ecosystems like coral reefs. More than 450 million people live within 60 kilometers of coral reefs, with many deriving food and income from them, yet they face extinction in the face of warming temperatures. The continued establishment of MPAs will further protect biodiversity, prevent overfishing and increase economic opportunity.

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