While I agree with Mr. Greenberg’s solutions of; A profound reduction in fishing effort, the conversion of a significant portion of ocean ecosystems to no catch areas, the global protection of unmanageable species and the protection of the bottom of the food chain, I would also like to add that marine protected areas and how they are managed need to be reassessed as well.
NOAA states that the restrictions of marine protected areas are established for conservation however, they also go on to say that most US MPAs allow fishing and have no regulations on harvesting of things like shells, rocks and other parts of a habitat. I believe that MPAs should be treated like we treat our National Parks where they are widely untouched by humans (other than minor management from the park services). There are marine protected areas categorized as marine reserves (these reserves limit what is taken from the reserve more so than a protected area) however, they only occupy ~3% of US waters as per NOAA. Some regulations used in National Parks could be applied to MPAs and may even help lay the ground work for other regulations specific to MPAs. The regulations for National parks are current as of October 21, 2019. Two regulations that might help MPAs that National Parks already have in place are that they prohibit any harvest of organisms outside of regulated areas and seasons (for population control). They also prohibit any fishing in fresh water other than a closely managed rod, hook and line.
Our MPA’s should be treated with the same seriousness and same enforcement as we treat our national parks. MPA’s should have more attention brought to them as an untouchable area for wild populations to flourish once again.