This large, subtropical mass of water located in the Northwest Atlantic near Bermuda churns slowly in a clockwise direction within the North Atlantic gyre. As Earth’s only sea without a land boundary, the Sargasso Sea contains expansive mats of free-floating brown algae called Sargassum, which reproduces vegetatively without attaching to the seafloor. This prolific alga provides structural habitat to diverse species in search of shelter, nurseries, and spawning and feeding areas. Below the surface, common fauna include pipefish, snails, anglerfish, shrimp, crabs, turtles, and even river eels. While a portion of the Sargasso Sea is within Bermuda’s jurisdiction, the majority of it is governed by international laws of the high seas, making this unique habitat vulnerable to encroachment.
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.