An Overview of Global Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with a Special Reference to Malaysia
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Marine protected areas (MPAs) make a significant contribution to the protection of marine communities through the provision of sustainable livelihoods, financial benefits related to fisheries and tourism, as well as the restoration of ocean productivity and the prevention of further degradation. Due to the inefficient management of MPAs, however, the marine ecosystem has been greatly affected by the substantial reduction in fish biomass, resulting in loss of biodiversity and extinction of species in MPAs. Malaysia, one of the top 12 megadiverse countries in the world, places great importance on the conservation and sustainable use of its rich natural heritage. In Malaysia, the concept of MPAs was introduced in the 1980s to raise public awareness on declining fisheries resources and ecosystem degradation. These MPAs have been established to address the threats to marine, coastal, and island ecosystems. The development of MPAs around the world, and particularly in Malaysia, is an essential geo-ecological element, not only for biodiversity, but also for society and the economy. There are four categories of MPAs in Malaysia: marine parks, no-take zones, wildlife sanctuaries, and turtle sanctuaries. For a better understanding of MPAs in Malaysia, it is relevant to provide a global overview before focusing on the Malaysian context.
KeywordsMarine protected areas Significance of MPAs Conservation Malaysia
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