The past two decades have seen both an increase in the area of the world´s ocean under protection and a trend toward the establishment of large-scale marine protected areas (MPAs). Recent calls from the international marine conservation community recommend a target of protecting at least 10% of all of the world´s marine and coastal ecoregions by 2020. The international community also notes that with only approximately 1% of the world´s oceans currently protected, large-scale MPAs will play a critical role to achieve this target.
In late 2010, the six largest MPAs in the world – Chagos Marine Protected Area, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and Phoenix Islands Protected Area – met and initiated the Big Ocean Network. These six sites represent approximately half of all ocean waters currently under protection in the world, and more than 2.3 million km2 of ocean ecosystems. The purpose of the Network is for member sites to work together and learn from one another to improve the effectiveness of large-scale marine protection, as well as serve as a learning resource and supportive peer network, particularly for new or proposed large-scale MPAs.
The Big Ocean Network proposes to convene a knowledge café to invite and document the perspectives of MPA managers and site partner representatives regarding assumptions held about large-scale marine protection efforts and scaling-up global ocean management. Participants will be engaged through a facilitated, interactive process to share their experiences, knowledge, and perceptions regarding large-scale marine protection, and share and discuss ideas to address the global call to action for dramatically scaling-up global marine protection efforts in support of the 2020 target. The café will build understanding and invite participation to work together to achieve this target.