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Protected Areas Maintained by UNEP  
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The definition of a protected area, as adopted by IUCN, is: an area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means. Although all protected areas meet the general purposes contained in this definition, in practice the precise purposes for which protected areas are managed differ greatly.
The benefits of establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) are well known, particularly for coral reefs. A reduction in fishing pressure, ideally through the complete closure of selected areas to all types of fishing, typically maintains more numerous and diverse populations of previously targeted species, leads to the reappearance of species absent from fishing grounds and substantially increases the biomass of large predatory species. There can also be positive effects on coral reef habitat with increased coral cover and structural complexity.
The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is a global database of protected areas maintained as a collaboration the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre. This is the only comprehensive global list of protected areas, and contains links to descriptive data describing important sites ('site sheets'), and GIS-data showing the distribution of sites, including mapped boundaries for a large number of locations. Information of more than 4000 MPAs is included in the World Database on Protected Areas, and site sheets have been completed for approximately 20% of these.
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Marine Reserves in the Spotlight: Meeting Both Conservation and Fisheries Goals
by University of California at Santa Barbara, ScienceDaily
21 February 2010

Marine reserves are known to be effective conservation tools when they are placed and designed properly.
Read more at http://www.sciencedaily. ... 00904.htm.
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