Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are the main global strategy for the conservation of marine biodiversity. However, while protected areas (PAs) are the cornerstones of biodiversity conservation, they are not the only tools for maintaining species and ecosystems. This conception is supported by the fact that the Convention of Biological Diversity clearly envisages areas beyond PAs contributing directly to the overall target, by including other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) in the Aichi Target 11 statement.

This study developed an operational framework to assess the value of fisheries restricted areas (FRAs) for marine conservation, contributing to the wider concept of considering OECMs as complementing conservation efforts. A tailor-made multi-criteria decision analysis was designed and applied, for potential OECMs to be carefully assessed and categorized according to their effectiveness in terms of contributing to marine biodiversity conservation.

The authors state that the study also constitutes a review of the conservation status of the Aegean Sea and provides scientific documentation to the managers and decision makers in the area to address spatial conservation targets.

The authors propose that, by adding all effective FRAs and a number of less effective FRAs, under the condition of increasing their effectiveness for conservation, to the network of MPAs in the area and designating them as OECMs, the Aichi conservation target could be attained at Aegean ecoregional levels.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X18307103

Petza et al. (2019) An operational framework to assess the value of fisheries restricted areas for marine conservation. Marine Policy 102:28-39.