The Chagos archipelago, designated a Hope Spot by Mission Blue, is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean and consists of 55 low-lying coral islands and is home to the world’s largest coral atoll and as much as half of the Indian Ocean’s remaining healthy reefs. Originally part of the Mauritian territory, Chagos was declared part of the British Indian Ocean Territory in the 1960s which consequently leased the largest island to the US for use as an airbase. In 2010, after years of work by numerous NGOs, the 640,000 sq km Chagos Marine Reserve (Chagos Conservation Trust) was declared by the UK. The entire area has been closed to commercial fishing since that time and there are currently legal challenges to the marine reserve as it impacts the return to the islands by native Chagossian people who were displaced when the airbase was built.
Marine Conservation Institute and the Waitt Foundation provide this
interactive tool to help users visualize the locations and coverage of global
marine protected areas (MPA). This atlas provides information on over 8000 MPAs
globally, drawing on datasets from the
World Database on Protected Areas1,
US MPA Center2,
and other country- and regional-level data authorities, as well as research
conducted by the Marine Conservation Institute.
In addition to MPA boundaries and site management information, this dataset
contains information on conservation measures with a particular focus on those
restricting the exploitation of marine life.
Features on this site are designed to allow users to understand (1) where current
protection exists and at what level, and (2), where important areas for future protection
are and any processes underway to establish MPAs. This provides vital information to
countries and their citizens interested in ocean conservation, management and stewardship.
The dataset is constantly being updated and we welcome visitors to the site to provide
feedback and update content by creating a member account on MPAtlas today.