Why we focus on the most important places

Why do we focus on the most important places?

As on land, some places in the ocean are more important than others.  Marine Conservation Institute focuses on winning protection for the oceans’ best places.

As marine scientists, we know that certain important things occur only in certain places.  On land, every real estate agent will tell you that location really matters.  That’s equally true in the sea.  We can seldom see these places from a vantage above the sea surface, but fishermen, marine scientists and scuba divers all know that some places have species or processes that don’t happen everywhere.

Corals form reefs only in certain places.

Groupers converge from large areas to spawn only in certain places.

Great white sharks cross entire oceans to feed only in certain places.

Right whales raise their young only in certain places.

Seabirds and sea turtles lay their eggs only in certain places.

And young fishes and lobsters seek refuge and food only in certain places.

The United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity calls such places Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas.  They are places that are special for their:

· Uniqueness or rarity

· Importance to life history stages of species of special concern

· Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity to human activities

· Species diversity

· Naturalness

We help decision makers protect these key places.  Right now, only about 1% of the oceans are marine protected areas.  1% isn’t enough to save the living oceans.  That’s why we work to win protection for more.