Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) play a critical role in protecting the health of our oceans. These zones are designed to conserve and enhance natural marine resources, as well as support the recovery of threatened species. However, with increasing human activity in these areas, there are concerns that these MPAs are not doing enough to preserve the oceans.
The issue was discussed in further detail during an interview with marine biologist Josep Lloret. Lloret, who heads the BIOCOUNTRY project funded by the European Union, stressed that even “protected areas” were not immune to endangering the health of the oceans. Activities such as recreational boating, air and water pollution caused by cruise ships, and the possible industrialization of the sea could all harm marine life and human health.
Lloret argued that we need to be very careful when it comes to the blue economy, which involves utilizing marine resources for economic gain. While it can be a significant source of livelihood for a country, it must not come at the cost of destroying the oceans’ health. The example of the Marine Protected Area of Cabo de Creus was cited, where offshore wind farms with turbines almost as tall as the Eiffel Tower were proposed. Concerns have been raised about their potential impact on the marine environment and ecosystems, as well as the human communities who depend on these resources.
Protecting the oceans is key to our health, and we need to do more to ensure that MPAs serve their intended function. The challenge is to balance economic growth with environmental protection, so that human communities and the marine environment can both thrive. As Lloret emphasized, it is crucial to strike a balance that ensures that the blue economy does not end up harming the very resources it seeks to exploit.