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Aligning marine spatial conservation priorities with functional connectivity across maritime jurisdictions

Joseph M. Maina et al.
Marine Spatial Planning

Marine governance and the management of its resources are based on boundaries to which marine species and ecosystems are not limited. As the pressure on marine life due to human activities increases, resilience could be supported through well-designed networks of marine reserves across exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Even though more marine reserves are being established within these EEZ, connecting networks of marine reserves and other mechanisms allowing the protection of the oceans beyond national jurisdictions are still insufficient. To achieve the sustainable development goals for the oceans, there is a need for regional solutions to area-based marine conservation focussing on biodiversity beyond the EEZ and including high seas. This study used simulations of functional connectivity and seafloor geomorphology in the Western Indian Ocean to apply a more effective regional marine conservation across EEZ.