Nations Unite to Preserve Ocean Sanctuaries
African nations are taking part in a global effort to preserve the seas for future generations. The United States joined more than 20 countries in announcing the creation of 40 new marine sanctuaries around the world to protect the ocean from climate change and pollution. The pledges came as part of the Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., in September 2016. Among those pledging to create protected areas were Morocco, the Republic of the Congo and the Seychelles.
The protected areas are meant to limit commercial development and human impacts on ocean ecosystems. Altogether, countries attending the conference announced the addition of new sanctuaries covering nearly 1.19 million square kilometers of ocean.
Highlights from the conference were:
Morocco announced the creation of three marine protected areas in Moghador, Massa and Albora, covering 775 square kilometers on the Moroccan Atlantic and Mediterranean shores and plans for a fourth in M’diq along the Mediterranean by 2018 where trawling will be banned.
The Republic of the Congo announced its intention to create a special marine conservation zone of 1,970 square kilometers in Loango Bay, in the city of Pointe-Noire, to protect sea turtles and sharks.
The Seychelles announced that it will establish up to 400,000 square kilometers of marine protected area, 30 percent of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), by 2020 as part of a comprehensive marine spatial plan for its entire EEZ. The plan is being financed via a debt swap of up to $27 million with its Paris Club creditors and the South African government, with the support of the Nature Conservancy and private capital.