paulyOrganizers: Daniel Pauly / Jérôme Petit
Affiliations: Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries , University of British Columbia/ The Pew Charitable Trusts – French Polynesia
Lead contact: Daniel Pauly

Description: More than 90 percent of global fish stocks are either fully fished or overfished (FAO 2016) and global marine fish catches are about 50% higher than officially reported (Pauly and Zeller 2016), while declining rapidly. Effective measures are needed to ensure the livelihoods of island communities, who are deeply reliant on marine resources. Marine reserves provide ocean life refuge from human impacts and allow depleted marine resources to recover. Effectively managed reserves support the blue economy by sustaining fish stocks and bolstering tourism. They also enhance resilience of ecosystems to climate change. A dozen of large fully protected marine reserves were recently created in the Pacific, but despite these efforts, only 3 percent of the global ocean is fully protected today. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently recommended to strictly protecting at least 30% of marine habitats. This session will present the latest scientific data on pelagic fish stocks in the Pacific. It will evaluate the effectiveness of marine reserves for the protection of fish populations and the adaptation to climate change. It will assess the benefits of ocean protection for local communities and economies. This session will present the rise of large-scale marine reserves in the Pacific and address management challenges such as enforcement, financing and governance. It will also give the floor to local stakeholders to present local initiatives for ocean protection. These exchanges will help the Pacific community building strategies to ensure the long-term health of fish resources in the face of global changes.

Expected Audience: This interdisciplinary session will cover a wide range of topics including ecology, fishery management, conservation strategies, and political, economic and cultural aspects. It will be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders such as scientists, marine reserves managers, decision makers, associations, fishermen and local communities. The proposed session focuses on a very timely topic, in the wake of the recent designation of large-scale marine reserves in several countries in the Pacific during the last few years. It will also be relevant to French Polynesian stakeholders in particular, in the light of the recent announcement of a large marine managed area in French Polynesia and of the Austral islanders’ proposal to create a large marine reserve in their waters. The interactions amongst this wide range of participants will lead to the identification of concrete innovative approaches for ocean protection in the Pacific.