Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island in the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Constituting the westernmost bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, Norwegian Sea, and Greenland Sea. The island was first used as a whaling base of operations in the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition to humans, four primarily terrestrial mammalian species inhabit the island: the Arctic Fox, the Svalbard reindeer, polar bears, and accidentally introduced Southern Vole, which are only found in Grumant. There are fifteen to twenty types of marine mammals, including whales, dolphins, seals and walruses. The area is most known for seabirds, as about 20 million have been counted near shore in the late summer. Sixteen species are on the IUCN Red List. In order to protect this critical habitat for seabirds and other marine life, Mission Blue declared Spitzbergen Island a Hope Spot 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.