SAMUDRA Report

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Issue No:65
  • :ISSN 0973–1121
  • :July
  • :2013
  • :English

The blue sea had over it the mystery of the darkness of the

night; the high noon sun had lost its fiery vigour and shone

with the pale yellow splendour of a full moon. All around me,

before and on either hand, was a waste of waters; the very air

and earth seemed filmed with moving water, and the sound

of falling waters was in my ears.

— from The Mystery of the Sea by Bram Stoker

Analysis / MPAs

Grabbing Oceans

As reserves grow in number and size in continental and marine areas, it is necessary to examine the human-rights issue of exclusion of people


This article, by Alain Le Sann (ad.lesann@orange.fr), Member, ICSF, was translated into English by Danièle Le Sann


For the past 20 years, since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, many biologists and environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), powerfully supported by foundations, international organizations, public agencies, private donations, and, increasingly, multinational companies, have imposed the idea that one of the best ways to preserve marine biodiversity and fisheries resources is to increase the number of no-take reserves and marine protected areas (MPAs).

After imposing this model on terrestrial ecosystems and constantly demanding an extension of reserves (from 17 per cent, increasing to a 25 per cent target later), in Johannesburg in 2002, ENGOs pushed for setting up MPAs in 20 per cent of the oceans, half of them as no-take reserves. For the public, sensitized by catastrophic speeches, films and media pronouncements exalting the beauty of marines reserves, this demand is simple and obvious.

Yet, no-take reserves, in particular, raise important issues related to the exclusion of...

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