Members of the Conservation Planning Group were authors on two letters published today in the journal Science. Jessica Cramp comments on the effectiveness of a large shark reserve in Micronesia. The establishment of the reserve was received with fanfare from the conservation community and, if left in place as initially intended, would have increased protection for sharks from commercial fishing. Later, however, the protection provided by the reserve was substantially weakened. Jessica’s contention is that, if establishment is a public announcement, then weakening should also be announced publicly. In the second comment, Rafael Magris argues that recently established, very extensive marine parks in Brazilian waters were placed remotely and have not mitigated any significant extractive uses of the marine environment. While contributing enormously to protected-area targets expressed in square kilometres, which are increasingly regarded as not only meaningless but counter-productive, the new marine parks give the superficial appearance of strong conservation progress when, in fact, very little has been made.

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