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Save the whales through privatization?

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Andrey Nekasov/Newscom/File

(Read caption) A beluga whale. A new study finds that preserving four percent of the oceans pay be key to saving marine mammals. The author argues for private ownership of these preservation areas.

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Science Daily recently reported on a study that finds “Preserving just 4 percent of the ocean could protect crucial habitat for the vast majority of marine mammal species, from sea otters to blue whales.”

The article, based on the research at Stanford University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (as published in the The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), shows that all 129 marine mammal species “can be represented in only 20 critical conservation locations [covering] 10 percent of the species’ geographic range.” Of the 20 critical conservation locations, the authors identify that “preserving just 9 of the 20 conservation sites would protect habitat for 84 percent of all marine mammal species on Earth”

Though the researchers do not suggest privatization as a means toward conservation, the reader should recognize the potential benefits. It also should be noted that the privatization of even 4% of our massive ocean yields an extremely large piece of territory–about the size of the United States and Mexico combined. Nevertheless, the study suggests that complete ocean privatization need not be the short-term goal of the libertarian ocean conservationist. The ownership allocation of just 4% of the ocean might indeed be enough to protect their interests.

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