An initiative of Marine Conservation Institute

Future Marine Protection


The MPAtlas database emphasizes "on the water" regulations that contribute to global marine protection. Part of the data we track are proposed marine protected areas (MPAs), promised marine protection and initiatives to designate future marine protection.

The map below was created to help people explore the currently proposed and pending marine protected areas around the world which are not yet part of our official MPA numbers.* There are a few different types of areas included. First there are the larger regional efforts called initiatives that are focused on raising awareness and support for future MPA designations. Next there are more specific campaigns that are working to build momentum for specific areas of protection at the local and national levels. In both cases, specific boundaries have not yet been put forward and so those areas and points are not indiciative of actual MPAs yet. Next we have MPAs that have been proposed but are not yet formally designated by a governing agency or we have formally designated areas that have not yet been fully implemented as "on the water" regulations. In these cases there are formal boundaries, but there may not yet be legislation, management plans or enforcement personel or budgets in place.


Explore more about these areas use our interactive mapper below and please check out our FAQs and email us if you have any questions. 

*None of the sites in this map are "fully implemented" and so not included in the official numbers of


Frequently Asked Questions:

How do these areas contribute to current global marine protection?

This data has been collected and presented here in order to better inform the marine conservation community about the actual status of various marine protection efforts. It is important to note that there are many steps to creating a marine protected area (MPA) and that while there is often a large amount of attention when new areas are announced, it is the actual implementation of these MPAs that ultimately contributes to global marine protection. None of the areas presented here are currently in force and so are not included in the official numbers from

We welcome updated information about new proposed areas or implementation if you have it and can be contacted at

What layers are available to view?

  • Unimplemented MPAs - both those that have been formally designated by a government agency but remain unimplemented as well as those that are proposed but not yet formally designated

  • MPA Campaigns - no formal boundaries have been proposed but additional protection in that area has been proposed

  • Regional Initiatives - regional efforts to designate one or more MPAs but a single group or entitity

What do these terms mean?

Initiative – Collection of campaigns unified under a central theme. Usually supported by a common NGO, agency or collection of groups.

Campaign – Formally declared effort to increase marine protection in a certain geographic area or ecosystem, no declared boundaries.

Proposed – Area of proposed protection with boundaries that have been proposed publicly

Designated – Chosen but currently without management plan, regulations, or enforcement

**Implemented – Formally created with management plan, regulations and enforcement

**None of the sites here are implemented and are not included in official numbers.

How can I learn more about the layers?

There are pop-ups for most of the layers that provide further info and links about the data. Please let us know if we can provide more information.