whales swimming with marine debris on them
Marine Protected Areas: Conserving America's oceans and coasts
red footed booby at palmyra atoll
About Marine Protected Areas
nasa blue marble world map
International Cooperation
sunset at the everglades
Marine Protected Areas Viewer

National Marine Protected Areas Center

Understanding area-based managmement in use waters. Contenct fo the 30x30 marine conservation goal

Informing our Marine Conservation Goals

This story map is designed to inform the dialogue around the goal to conserve 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030, and to promote understanding of the complexity of area-based conservation across the ocean and Great Lakes in the U.S.

26% marine protected area, 3% No-take marine reserve


Marine protected areas cover 26% of U.S. waters. View, query and explore the MPA Inventory, a database that catalogs information on nearly 1,000 marine protected areas in U.S. waters.

marshy wetland


MPAs provide long term protection to important marine and coastal ecosystems that provide a wide range of benefits, including as natural solutions to climate impacts through mitigation, adaptation and resilience, complementing essential efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Marine Protected Areas 2020: Building Effective Conservation Networks

This report and story map summarizes U.S. contributions towards six key aspects of successful marine protected area (MPA) networks. The U.S. has established nearly 1,000 MPAs (as defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)) to protect important places in our ocean, estuaries, coastal waters, and Great Lakes. Scientists and managers have identified the following characteristics for networks of MPAs to achieve conservation outcomes:

  • Area protected
  • Ecologically representative
  • Ecologically connected
  • Other effective conservation measures (that are not MPAs)
  • Effectively and equitably managed MPAs
  • Integrated into the wider seascape
report cover: two diver examining a wreck with many fish swimming around them

Ecological Connectivity for Marine Protected Areas

The role of ecological connectivity in the effective design and management of marine protected area (MPA) networks is gaining attention in the field of marine conservation. This document provides an introduction to ecological connectivity in MPAs while highlighting information needed to fully capitalize on this important ecological process for more effective and resilient MPAs.

report cover: turtle being cleaned by fish
photo of fish and coral


Learn about our work connecting and strengthening MPAs in the United States and internationally, including managing ocean uses and planning for climate change. Check out our video and webstory.

mapping on screen


Learn about how MPA programs are meeting the challenges of managing in a changing climate, conserving cultural heritage, and addressing ocean uses.