The National Marine Protected Areas Center was established in 2000 to strengthen and connect the nation's marine protected areas, as called for in Executive Order 13158. The MPA Center is a partnership between NOAA and the Department of the Interior to serve as a resource to all federal, state, territorial and tribal programs responsible for the health of the nation's oceans. It is located within NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
The National MPA Center has four goals:
- Develop information and tools to support MPA planning and management.
- Connect MPA programs to enhance collaboration on common goals.
- Strengthen management capacity of MPA programs.
- Enhance public awareness, engagement and stewardship of MPAs.
The MPA Center is also actively engaged with MPA programs around the world, and serves as the hub for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries international work.