Ocean global and by place

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June 2009

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Marine protected areas

  • There are just over 5,000 marine protected areas covering more than 3.1 million sq. km (<1% earth's surface), compared to more than 115,000 terrestrial protected areas which cover 18 million sq. Km (11.9% earth's surface).
  • The smallest MPA is Echo Bay Provincial Park in Canada with a documented area of 0.4 ha and the largest MPA is the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati with a documented area of 41,050,000 ha.
  • The average nationally designated MPA size is 55,278.465 ha.
  • The oldest designated MPA is the San Juan County/Cyprus Island Marine Biological Preserve in the United States which was designated in 1923.


  • 52 per cent of the 441 global fishing stocks through the world are fully exploited, 17 per cent of these fishing stocks are over exploited and 7 per cent are depleted (Review of the state of world marine fishery resources (2005). FAO Fisheries Technical Paper . No. 457. Rome, FAO. 235p.);
  • 90 per cent of big fish are gone (Myers, R. & Worm, B. (2003). Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities. Nature 423: 280-283);

Ocean pollution

  • 80 per cent of ocean pollution originates from land-based activities (Nellemann, C. and Corcoran, E. (Eds). 2006. Our precious coasts – Marine pollution, climate change and the resilience of coastal ecosystems. United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal, Norway,;
  • Outside of Europe and North America, more than 80 per cent of sewage enters the ocean untreated (Sale, P.F., M.J. Butler IV, A.J. Hooten, J.P. Kritzer, K.C. Lindeman, Y. J. Sadovy de Mitcheson, R.S. Steneck, and H. van Lavieren, 2008. Stemming Decline of the Coastal Ocean: Rethinking Environmental Management, UNU-INWEH, Hamilton, Canada);
  • Certain parts of the ocean contain almost 1 million plastic particles per square kilometre (Greenpeace (2006). Plastic Debris in the World's Oceans. Greenpeace International, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ). [1]

Related topic Edit

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  • Ocean W
  • Marine debris W
  • Marine pollution W
  • Ocean acidification W
  • Effects of climate change on marine mammals W
  • Great Pacific Garbage Patch W
  • Marine Protected Area W

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  1. United Nations Environment Programme, June 8, 2009

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