Policy on Marine Protection

Approved by the Surfrider Board of Directors on October 5, 2002

Introduction

The Surfrider Foundation recognizes that protection of the coastal environment requires protection of an interconnected coastal zone that includes the open ocean, near shore water, beaches, estuaries and coastal watersheds. The Surfrider Foundation further recognizes while some coastal lands and beaches have been set for permanent protection as wilderness areas, parks, reserves, preserves, conservation areas, and sanctuaries, less than seven percent of the global marine environment has any protected status. Many of our most valued marine areas have already suffered significant damage from pollution, mismanaged fishing practices and coastal development impacts.

Whereas:  

Less than seven percent of the world's oceans have any protected status;

There is broad scientific consensus that marine protected areas benefit marine ecosystems and have been recognized as an important marine resource protection tool;

Marine protected areas are a proactive means to protect marine environments, surfing areas, water quality, cultural and recreational resources.

Therefore:  

The Surfrider Foundation supports marine protected areas that will:

  • Enhance the coastal experience by preserving wild recreational areas.
  • Protect special coastal and ocean places from dredging and dumping, oil drilling, ocean pollution, fisheries mismanagement, large commercial vessel traffic, poorly planned coastal development and water quality problems, while promoting marine education, recreation and research.
  • Restore ecosystem health in marine, estuarine and beach habitats.

In addition, Surfrider believes that:

  • Marine protection efforts must consider the linkages between our beaches, estuaries, nearshore and offshore waters.
  • We must promote an ocean ethic, which results from education, outreach and public input.
  • Constructive conversation and local input about the design and implementation of marine protection is essential both to the equity of the protection effort and compliance with restrictions.
  • While fisheries management is a critical part of managing ocean resources, additional management and conservation strategies must be employed to address a broader range of goals including the protection of marine biodiversity and ecosystem function.