By Ryan Morrison For Mailonline
Published: 19:00 GMT, 21 February 2020 | Updated: 19:00 GMT, 21 February 2020
More than a quarter of the Earth's oceans need urgent protection to give marine species space to live without human impact, scientists claim.
To keep the aquatic creatures safe, researchers at the University of Queensland say millions of square miles of ocean should have any human activity restricted.
This would include potentially banning fishing, commercial shipping and restricting pesticide runoff in waters covering a quarter of the Earth.
The Northern Pacific Ocean near China and Japan as well as the Atlantic between West Africa and the Americas are key areas to keep clear, the team said.
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Currently one-third of all marine species have less than 10 per cent of their range protected according to researchers from the University of Queensland
Space required is based on how far different marine species need to roam for things like food and mating, the team said in a paper published in One Earth.
Authors mapped more than 22,000 marine species habitats and created a model to identify the minimum area required to capture a portion of each species range.
To ensure they have the space to roam without the risk humans pose more than 3.3 million square miles of water should be made into protected areas.
The range is how far they need to travel and found that a third of all species have less than 10 per cent of where they need to go covered by protected places.
'Conserving the areas we've identified in our study would give all marine species a reasonable amount of space to live free from human impacts like fishing, commercial shipping or pesticide runoff,' said author Kendall Jones.
As part of the study they included spaces of international importance for biodiversity and areas where human impact on the oceans are extremely low.
They found that the total ocean area required for conservation varied from 26-41 per cent of all waters - depending on the proportion of each species range conserved.
Director of Science at the