Lack of marine protection in Europe

WWF report: EU misses goals to protect marine biodiversity

A new WWF report shows significant deficiencies in the protection of Europe's seas. Only 1.8% of the sea area within the EU is designated as protected areas as well as protected by concrete measures.

There are no international ocean protection objectives in the EU: ten percent of the world ocean should be effectively protected by 2020, as enshrined in UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 and Biodiversity Convention 11.

Marine protected areas should help to protect certain species or habitats in the oceans in the long term from damaging interventions. To ensure this, the areas must be effectively managed through so-called management plans. They set out precise measures for the protection or restoration of nature, such as restricting fisheries.

The new WWF report shows that 12.4 percent of Europe's seas are designated as protected areas. Formally, this is the 10-percent target of the EU, but the reality is different. "The majority of European marine protected areas are so-called 'paper parks' whose protective effect only exists on paper," warns WWF expert Carla Kuhmann. "Without immediate implementation and adherence to management plans with effective measures, the EU will miss its ocean protection goals."