This issue is inspired by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Management Network (WIOMPAN). It features marine conservation in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region; practitioners share their experiences, progress, and future prospects for the region. The recently launched WIO Marine Protected Area Outlook Report 2021 is highlighted, along with updates on progress toward SDG 14.5 and the potential to accelerate progress toward post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework targets. Voices of experience in marine conservation offer lessons gained and best practices from various marine conservation settings and programs being implemented in the WIO region.
The renowned Dr. Sylvia Earle has written the foreword to Issue 13! Dr. Earle’s foreword offers a message of hope for marine conservation in the region- “Fifty years ago, it seemed humans could take from –and put into– the ocean – without limit and without concern. Now we know. The swift decline of coral reefs, mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, sharks, tunas, groupers, swordfish and other ocean wildlife and the equally swift rise of polluted waters, increasing temperature and changing ocean chemistry are directly linked to extravagant human activity. We also know there are actions that can be taken to stabilize, recover and improve ocean health. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Western Indian Ocean. In this volume are eloquent, thoughtful contributions that underscore reasons for hope, with clear evidence that our power to destroy can be countered, decline reversed, ecosystems restored. While it is not possible to go back to the planet that today’s grandparents knew, the right actions now can yield for tomorrow’s children a safer, more resilient world. Now we know what our predecessors could not: Protecting the ocean is not an option. Our existence depends on it.”