What are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)?

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The Union minister of state for science and technology and earth sciences recently said that India will continue to support setting up two Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Antarctica to protect marine life and its ecosystem services.

About Marine Protected Areas (MPAs):

  • MPAs are areas of the ocean set aside for long-term conservation aims.
  • They support climate change adaptation and mitigation while providing other ecosystem services.
  • The specific purposes, legal authority, level of protection, management approaches, and use allowance of individual marine protected areas (MPAs) can vary greatly from site to site
  • Many MPAs allow people to use the area in ways that do not damage the environment. Some ban fishing. A few do not allow people to enter the area at all.
  • MPAs currently cover about 6.35% of the ocean. However, only just over 1.89% of that area is covered by exclusively no-take MPAs that do not allow any fishing, mining, drilling, or other extractive activities.

What is the United Nations High Seas Treaty?

  • It is the first-ever treaty to protect the world's oceans that lie outside national boundaries.
  • It is also known as the ‘Paris Agreement for the Ocean.’
  • It is a legally binding treaty to protect marine life in international waters.
  • It aims to place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030 (a pledge made by countries at the UN biodiversity conference in 2022).
  • It will provide a legal framework for establishing vast marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect against the loss of wildlife and share out the genetic resources of the high seas.


Q1) What are International waters?

International waters are those located outside any nation’s territorial waters. Some refer to these waters as the open seas or the high seas. No nation ‘owns’ these waters. They generally extend about 200 nautical miles from the shore of a country, and are broken into different sections in which the particular country has various rights.

Source: ‘India supports marine protected areas in Antarctica to conserve ocean life’: Jitendra Singh to DTE