How much of our ocean is protected?

Today, only 2.1% of the world’s oceans are protected in implemented and actively managed marine protected areas, and of that only 1% of the ocean is strongly protected in no-take marine reserves.


Palau designates 80% of EEZ in marine sanctuary.

80% of EEZ


Country: PALAU
Protected Area Size: 500,000 km2
Protection Type: No-Take Marine Reserve
Status: Designated 2015-10-22
Implementation Date: Fishing permits phased out over 5 years

Chile announces 100,000 km2 Patagonian marine protected area network.

2.7% of EEZ

0.03% of Ocean

Country: CHILE
Protected Area Size: 100,000 km2
Protection Type: Multi-Use MPAs with No-Take Marine Reserves
Status: Announced @ Our Oceans conference 2015-10-05
Implementation Date: by 2020
Partners: Wildlife Conservation Society, Waitt Foundation

Chile announces 297,000 km2 Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park.

8.1% of EEZ

0.082% of Ocean

Country: CHILE
Protected Area Size: 297,518 km2
Protection Type: No-Take Marine Reserve
Status: Announced @ Our Oceans conference 2015-10-05
Implementation Date: 2015
Partners: Pristine Seas - National Geographic Society, Oceana

Chile pledges to create 600,000 km2 Easter Island Marine Park pending approval of Rapa Nui.

16.2% of EEZ

0.17% of Ocean

Country: CHILE
Protected Area Size: 600,000 km2
Protection Type: No-Take Marine Park surrounding Multi-Use MPA around Rapa Nui
Status: Announced @ Our Oceans conference 2015-10-05
Implementation Date: --
Partners: Pew Ocean Legacy, Bertarelli Foundation

New Zealand announces 620,000 km2 Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

15% of EEZ

0.17% of Ocean

Protected Area Size: 620,000 km2
Protection Type: No-Take Marine Reserve
Status: Announced by PM John Key @ UN 2015-09-28
Implementation Date: unknown
Partners: Pew Global Ocean Legacy

What are governments doing right now?

The Road to 10 Percent & Beyond

But the future is bright. Just by implementing the more than 20 proposed or officially announced marine protected areas and networks, we can protect almost 6% of the ocean. Many proposals include no-take marine reserves, which will cover over 2% of our seas once implemented.

Why Marine Protected Areas?

Why MPAs?

Marine protected areas are essential to safeguard biodiversity and to sustain vibrant seas.

Marine protected areas can increase biomass and biodiversity in tropical and temperate ecosystems, as well as serve as insurance policies against the impacts of fishing and other destructive activities. If managed properly, they are an effective way of protecting marine ecosystems along with their cultural and historical heritage for us and future generations.

Learn Why Marine Protected Areas Work

Newly Released!!

North America is far from reaching national and international targets for protecting oceans, according to a first-of-its-kind report released on Wednesday.

The Dare to Be Deep report, created by a coalition of NGOs in the US, Canada and Mexico, finds that less than 1% of these countries’ oceans are protected like national parks – with only four years left to reach the 10% protection goal set in the multilateral Biodiversity Convention.

Read more: Dare to be Deep: SeaStates Report on North America Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)


Tiny Island Chain Wants To Create The World’s Largest Ocean Sanctuary

In an effort to protect fisheries and preserve one of the planet’s healthiest marine ecosystems, communities in a remote archipelago south of Tahiti are working to establish the largest fully protected marine reserve on the planet.

The proposal, which municipalities in the Austral Islands presented to the French Polynesian government on Monday, would ban fishing in more than 385,000 square miles of ocean surrounding the island chain and establish sustainable coastal fishing areas around each of its five inhabited islands.

Read more about the reserve

New Zealand Announces One of the World's Largest Marine Reserves

New Zealand will create one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, spanning an area of 620,000 sq km.

The Kermadec ocean sanctuary will be one of the world’s most significant fully protected ecosystems, the prime minister of New Zealand, John Key, told the UN general assembly in New York.

Read more about the reserve

New England Marine Monuments Proposed

National groups are calling for sprawling areas in off Cape Ann, Cape Cod and Rhode Island to be declared the first “marine national monument” on the Eastern Seaboard.

Read More

More Marine Protection for the Bahamas!

In its commitment to the goal of tripling protection of its marine and coastal areas by 2020 under the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI), the Bahamas has significantly expanded its network of marine protected areas. On Monday, Kenred Dorsett, minister of the environment and housing, announced the creation of 15 new parks and three park expansions, comprising 4.5 million hectares in total.

Read More

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Explore Earth's Marine Protected Areas

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Analyze protection levels.

Marine Protected Area statistics by political or ecological dimensions.

By Nation By Biogeography (coming)

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