Large (>10,000 km2) marine protected areas (LMPAs) have recently been established around the planet in pursuit of international conservation and geopolitical goals. A recent such initiative in the South Atlantic has important social and ecological implications that have not been discussed in existing literature. In light of this knowledge gap, this article aims to discuss the implementation of MPA networks in the St. Peter and St. Paul´s archipelago and the Vitória-Trindade seamount chain (~1000 km from the Brazilian coast). The participatory process conducted by the Brazilian Federal government created LMPAs networks that integrate multiple-use zones centered on certain natural monuments (islands) and spanning a radius of 200 nautical miles around these islands. With these LMPAs (together covering ~920,000 km2), Brazil increases its MPA coverage from 1.5% to ~ 25% of its EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone). However, even with this high percentage of protection, many important coastal ecosystems are not yet protected in Brazilian waters. These LMPAs can be an important step towards the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services of terrestrial insular, shallow, mesophotic, and deep-sea ecosystems. Owing to this importance, it is necessary to ensure adequate surveillance, participative governance, as well as an adequate management plan to deal with the increase in human pressures (fishing, mining, plastics, and climate-change stressors). This paper discusses strategies for the establishment of ocean zoning (including no-take zones) and large-scale marine spatial planning to improve management effectiveness. It also provides insights into the challenges faced in the management of LMPAs in a changing ocean.
Overall benthic (groups)