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How cooperation on marine protection between China and Southeast Asian nations can reduce regional t

Buoyed by its long coastline, beautiful bays, harbours and more than 3,000 islands, Vietnam understands – as do other coastal nations – the threats from climate change, illegal and unregulated fishing, rising sea levels and habitat destruction. While the tensions over sovereignty claims in the South China Sea still exist, Southeast Asian nations and China are embracing marine protected areas (MPAs) to support the health of the ocean.

The science is clear: create a place of refuge in which marine life can thrive and the results provide more fish for all. It’s a practice that is proving successful. In the face of dire environmental challenges, more governments are committed to protecting up to 30 per cent of the ocean territory by 2030. This is especially important in Southeast Asia, which is home to some of our planet’s most biologically diverse coral reefs.

A recent study in the journal Science on marine conservation confirms that although ocean ecosystems are complex and dynamic, the spillover benefits at Hawaii’s largest fully protected MPA supports the increased number of two migratory species, bigeye and yellowfin tuna.

This is significant since previous research cast doubt on the potential for MPAs to provide refuge for migratory fish. With the collapse of fisheriesin the South China Sea, marine protected areas offer a safety net that is a non-threatening measure for claimant nations to get behind.

Read the full article on the South China Morning Post

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