What are Highly Protected Marine Reserves?


Ocean conservation is essential but sometimes difficult to understand. Pew joined forces with cartoonist Jim Toomey, the artist behind “Sherman’s Lagoon,” on 10 animated videos that explain the complicated concepts that guide efforts to protect our oceans.

Visual Glossary of Ocean Terminology – Cartoon crash course

#9 What are Highly Protected Marine Reserves?

Scientists recommend safeguarding at least 30 percent of our ocean by establishing fully protected marine reserves. Find out why marine protected areas are an effective conservation method for protecting the sea for the fish, plants, and mammals that live in marine ecosystems.

Cartoonist Jim Toomey—whose daily comic strip, Sherman’s Lagoon, is syndicated in more than 250 newspapers in the United States—has joined forces with The Pew Charitable Trusts to illustrate “marine reserves” and other terms associated with our oceans.


Highly protected marine reserves are areas in the ocean where fish, birds, plants and marine mammals can thrive. That means the animals are free to frolic and play, find mates or simply while away an afternoon oblivious to the outside world. It’s kind of like college for fish.

Studies show that species in highly protected marine reserves flourish and in their quest for self-discovery, often swim well beyond the boundaries of the reserves… “Road Trip! Woohoo.”

This is good news for fishermen and coastal communities that depend on healthy fish populations for survival.

Marine reserves are also good for all of us. Like national parks, they safeguard a vital part of our planet for future generations. But its not just about preserving natural beauty, scientists are just beginning to discover the enormous benefits that a healthy ocean provides.

Thank goodness someone took college seriously.

Looking at it from a global scale, scientists highly recommend that at least 30 percent of the ocean be fully protected. Marine reserves are key to addressing challenges to ocean health. It makes sense we’d want to protect it but so far we’ve only set aside a tiny percentage of the ocean as highly protected!

Its time we turn more of our oceans into marine reserves, not only to protect them, but to protect ourselves.

And if you happen to wander into one remember, respect the marine animals that live there and let them party on.


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February 9, 2017 |

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