1.64million km2, representing just 0.5% of the global ocean surface (Chape et al. 2003), of the marine environment is a designated protected area. Of this only a fraction has been granted permanent protected status. Table 1 illustrates the sparse areas of protection provided for CWCs; amazingly the first area was established only 26 years ago.
A small number of Marine Protection Areas (MPAs) have been established to protect biodiversity globally in coastal areas (Gell and Roberts 2003). MPAs provide vital protection for severely exploited species due to human activities, and they try to combat habitat loss and diversity increase with various conservation efforts. Many protected areas have shown significant improvements, with species living longer allowing for an increased reproductive potential (Bohnsack 1990, Davies et al. 2007). Studies like these show that protected areas do make a difference.
The open ocean however, would be very hard to partition and monitor (Gubbay 1998), observations by police would be time consuming and not cost effective. Although, since 2002, E.U fishing vessels larger than 24m across are required to send their GPS coordinates every two hours (Davies et al. 2007) to fisheries monitoring centres. These centres also have access to registered vessels in the area. This method shows promise for policing the high seas.
On an International scale, the United Nations General Assembly called for states to protect Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs), these include CWCs (Miller et al. 2009). Indeed, some CWC species have gained protection status as a result of closing sea-mounts to fishing activities.