To Fish or Not to Fish?


Locations of Marine Protected Areas around the world.Photo courtesy of World Wildlife Fund, 2005 .

Although they cover 70% of our planet's surface, less than 8% of the world's oceans are protected. Marine protected areas (MPAs) protect marine biodiversity and provide refuge for endangered species and commercial fish populations. Through tourism and park management, MPAs can provide a source of employment and income for local people. MPAs are not necessarily no-fishing zones. The term MPA can apply to a variety of different types of marine parks and reserves with different levels of protection and a wide range of activities that are allowed or prohibited within their boundaries.

In this investigation, you will learn about Marine Protected Areas, how they are classified, and how they can be powerful tools for protecting marine species and ecosystems.

After completing this investigation, you should be able to:

  • define the term Marine Protected Area;
  • explain why MPAs are important for ecosystem and fisheries management;
  • understand how MPAs are classified;
  • identify a marine managed area near your home town; and
  • identify factors that help make a successful MPA.

Keeping Track of What You Learn

Throughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions.
  • Checking In questions are intended to keep you engaged and focused on key concepts and to allow you to periodically check if the material is making sense. These questions are often accompanied by hints or answers to let you know if you are on the right track.
  • Stop and Think questions are intended to help your teacher assess your understanding of the key concepts and skills you should be learning from the lab activities and readings.
Your teacher will let you know which answers you should record and turn in.