An initiative of Marine Conservation Institute

Very Large MPAs

There is accelerating momentum and opportunity for designating very large marine protected areas. A very large percentage of MPAs are tiny - nearly 50% are smaller than 10 sq km. Both small and large MPAs can export adult or larvae marine species and be useful for human fisheries (by supplementing populations in surrounding areas), but MPAs are less useful for biodiversity if the animals they export suffer significant fishing mortality. MPAs that can reduce mortality and protect critical life history phases where they occur are much more effective than those that do not.

Research suggests large MPAs are much more cost-effective to implement and manage compared to smaller MPAs (McCrea-Stroub et al 2010), and in general larger areas will provide better protection from activities that occur outside the MPA. However, it is important to note that small and well managed MPAs can still achieve important conservation benefits. A growing number of large MPAs cover the oceans of many countries and high seas areas protecting diverse pelagic ecosystems, offshore seamounts, and ocean trenches, including the recently designated Trindade and Martim Vaz and Sao Pedro and Sao Paulo protected areas off Brazil and Mexico's Revillagigedo National Park.

Year Name Total Area (km2) No-take Area (km2) Nation or Authority
2017 Ross Sea Protected Area 1,549,000 1,117,000 CCAMLR
2016 Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument 1,508,870 1,146,565 United States
(2014) Natural Park of the Coral Sea (New Caledonia)* 1,368,806 28,000 France
2014 Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument 1,270,000 1,270,000 United States
2012 South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands MPA 1,000,700 20,431 United Kingdom
2018 Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve 989,842 238,400 Australia
2015 Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve 834,334 834,334 United Kingdom
2016 Terres Australes Francaises 673,000 120,000 France
2010 Chagos (British Indian Ocean Territory) MPA 640,000 545,000 United Kingdom
(2015) Rapa Nui Rahui MPA* 631,368 496,570 Chile
2015 Palau National Marine Sanctuary 500,000 0 Palau
(2017) Juan Fernandez Marine Park* 480,000 480,000 Chile
2016 St Helena Marine Protection Zone 445,000 0 United Kingdom
2018 Pacífico Mexicano Profundo 436,147 only deeper than 800m Mexico
2006 Phoenix Islands Protected Area 408,250 408,250 Kiribati
2018 Trindade e Martim Vaz Environmental Protection Area 403,845 0 Brazil
2018 Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo Environmental Protection Area 384,562 0 Brazil
1975 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 345,000 115,000 Australia
2012 Marae Moana Marine Park 324,000 0 Cook Islands
2015 Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park 297,518 297,518 Chile
2018 South-west Corner Commonwealth Marine Reserve 271,833 54,841 Australia
2009 Marianas Trench Marine National Monument 246,608 0 United States
2018 Norfolk Commonwealth Marine Reserve 188,444 41,661 Australia
2017 Micronesia MPA 184,948 0 Micronesia
2009 Prince Edward Islands MPA 180,000 4,440 South Africa
2010 Charlie Gibbs North High Seas MPA 178,651 0 OSPAR
1999 Macquarie Island Marine Reserve 162,000 58,000 Australia
2010 Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park 150,000 150,000 Chile
2017 Revillagigedo National Park 147,629 147,629 Mexico
2018 Argo-Rowley Terrace Commonwealth Marine Reserve 146,003 36,050 Australia
2010 Charlie Gibbs South High Seas MPA 145,420 0 OSPAR
(2017) Diego Ramirez-Drake Passage (Cabo de Hornos) Marine Park* 137,000 137,000 Chile
1998 Galapagos Marine Reserve 133,000 47,000 Ecuador
(2017) Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area* 131,000 0 Canada
2018 Lord Howe Commonwealth Marine Reserve 110,126 9,273 Australia

 

Bold- Designated and Implemented

* - Awaiting full implementation