New Study Clears the Way for the Establishment of More Fully Supported Marine Protected Areas. How AI Is Playing an Role

Five years after the creation of Mexico’s Revillagigedo National Park, the largest fully protected marine area in North America, experts report no economic impacts on the local fishing sector and prove protecting large ocean areas doesn’t curb fishing industry catches

Revillagigedo National Park. Photo courtesy Octavio Aburto

A new study published in Science Advances today provides evidence that large-scale, offshore, and fully-protected marine areas (MPAs) protect biodiversity without negatively impacting fishing and food security. 

In the first-ever “before and after” assessment of the impact of establishing Mexico’s Revillagigedo National Park, the study shows how using AI, such as machine learning from Skylight, improved the way conservationists monitor this vast area. It also revealed that despite a full ban on fishing activity within Revillagigedo, large-scale MPAs in countries’ Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) can contribute to global conservation goals without compromising fisheries interests or a nation’s ability to ensure food security.

Funded by Oceans 5 and the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, the study was done by a team of researchers from the Mexican NGO Centro para la Biodiversidad Marina y la Conservación, , UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Institute of Americas’ Gulf of California Marine Program, and the National Geographic Society. 

Read more about the study here.