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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Best buys for Africa: Expansion of Marine Protected Areas

Fast-track Analysis

Marine ecosystems and the services they provide such as provisioning of nutrition, coastal protection, recreational opportunities and climate regulation are becoming degraded around Africa. Threats include coastal development, runoff of sediments, sewage, plastic waste, climate change, overfishing, ocean acidification and the use of destructive fishing practices. For example, 20-30% of the mangroves in west and central Africa have been lost in the past 25 years (UNEP, 2007); and in 2017 most of the fish caught in that region were classed as threatened and near threatened species (IUCN, 2017). According to the World Bank, fisheries and aquaculture provide employment to over 12 million people in Africa and directly contribute $24 billion to its economy (The World Bank, 2019). Fish is also an important source of essential proteins and nutrients to over 400 million people.