News Round-Up

Are partially protected areas the ‘red herrings’ of marine conservation?


Partially protected areas – marine reserves that allow some forms of fishing – are no more effective socially or ecologically than open marine areas in Australia’s Great Southern Reef, a new UNSW study has concluded.

The research, published in Conservation Biology, comes at a time when the High Ambition Coalition of 50 countries of the world (which does not include Australia) have pledged to protect more than 30 per cent of the planet’s lands and seas by the end of this decade. But not all protected areas are created equal.

The UNSW study discovered partially protected areas in southern Australia had no more fish, invertebrates or algae and no difference in the mix of users – and they were not valued any more highly by users than areas outside reserves (open areas). MORE

Header image: An example of the amazing sea life which UNSW Science researcher John Turnbull encountered during his research of marine areas along Australia’s Great Southern Reef. Pictured, the Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, also known as the Weedy seadragon. Credit: John Turnbull.