Sea life at risk if EU countries don't achieve marine protection goals

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By Gregoire Lory
Sea life at risk if EU countries don't achieve marine protection goals

Life under the sea is at risk. International targets for protecting biodiversity appear to be out of reach. By 2020, countries with a coastline must establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to ensure the conservation of wildlife and flora. According to a study by the WWF, the European Union is far from leading the way.

"We have 23 Member States with marine area in the EU. 19 of these are under the 10% limit of having effective management for protected areas and with just one year to go. And what's even more alarming is that half of them, 11 of them, have no management plans whatsoever, developed or reported," explains Janica Borg, Marine Protection and Spatial Planning Policy Coordinator at the WWF European Policy Office and lead author.

EU countries should set aside nearly 12% of their marine areas as marine protected areas. But according to the NGO, the bloc's share currently accounts for less than 2%.

"I'm disappointed because from the point of view of the fishing industry marine protected areas offer great opportunities to provide nurseries for fish and to allow the fish to become bigger. And as we know bigger is better because big fish breed in more numbers. So marine protected areas, 10%, 15%, provide a great background for a fishing industry," Chris DAVIES (UK), Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe group, chair of the Committee on Fisheries told Euronews.

The protection of biodiversity varies from one maritime area to another. Additional efforts are needed in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Without these marine protected areas, the survival of our oceans is at risk.