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Assessing gaps in marine conservation in California

TitleAssessing gaps in marine conservation in California
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsGleason, MG, Merrifield, MS, Cook, C, Davenport, AL, Shaw, R
JournalFront. Ecol. Environ.Front. Ecol. Environ.Front. Ecol. Environ.
KeywordsGIS and oceanography, marine GAP, marine biodiversity, conservation, MPA

Implementation of marine conservation strategies lags far behind terrestrial conservation efforts. Quantifying
what is protected and what is not, or “gap analysis”, helps to show just how much work there is to do; systematic
conservation planning provides guidance on how to best fill those gaps. We conducted the first marine
gap analysis for California by comparing distributions of major ecosystems and habitats with existing marine
protected areas. Less than 0.3% of state and federal waters (to the bottom of the continental slope) are within
no-take or limited-take marine protected areas (MPAs). With few exceptions, less than 5% of marine habitats
are within no-take or limited-take MPAs that afford a high level of ecosystem protection. Efforts to create new
MPAs to include representative habitats will help to fill some gaps, but additional conservation strategies, such
as ocean zoning and ecosystem-based management of fisheries, are needed to balance protection and sustainable
use of marine biodiversity.

Short TitleFrontiers in Ecology and the EnvironmentFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Alternate JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment