The Northwest Passage is a route through the Arctic Ocean from the northern coast of North America through the Canadian Archipelago that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The area was frozen over by Arctic pack ice until 2009. The reduction in pack ice due to climate change has made the route more desirable are a marine shipping waterway. In addition to shipping concerns, the reduction in pack ice has permitted some species to migrate across the Arctic Ocean. Whale species like the grey and bowhead whales that are typically Pacific Ocean dwellers have both been seen in the Atlantic after the passage was opened. One grey whale was even seen as far east as the Mediterranean. With the reduction in pack ice over the past few years, the Northwest Passage has become the focus of many conservation campaigns, including the Pew Oceans North Program, and it was declared a Hope Spot by Mission Blue in 2013.
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.