Many marine protected areas are often unnecessarily expensive and located in the wrong places, an international study has shown.
The University of Queensland was part of research which found protected areas missed many unique ecosystems, and have a greater impact on fisheries than necessary.
A collaboration with the University of Hamburg, Wildlife Conservation Society and The Nature Conservancy assessed the efficiency of marine protected areas, which now cover 16 per cent of national waters around the world.
UQ’s School of Biological Sciences researcher Professor Hugh Possingham said international marine preservation targets are falling short.
“International conservation targets such as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals call for protection of at least 10 per cent of all the world’s oceans and all marine ecosystems,” he said.
“Despite a tenfold increase in marine protected areas since the year 2000 – a growth of 21 million square kilometres – half of all marine ecosystems still fall short of the target, with 10 ecosystems entirely unprotected.”