About the National System of Marine Protected Areas
The United States has developed a national system of marine protected areas (MPAs) to advance the conservation and sustainable use of the nation's vital natural and cultural marine resources. The national system is described in detail in the Framework for a National System of Marine Protected Areas for the United States, now being updated.
The purpose of the National System is to build management capacity among MPA programs, coordinate collaborative efforts to address common management issues and identify ecosystem-based gaps in the protection of significant natural and cultural resources for possible future action by the nation's MPA authorities.
The goals of the national system are to conserve and manage:
Eligible MPA Programs are invited to nominate their sites to be part of the national system of MPAs. The nomination process is transparent, science-based, and provides an opportunity for public comment.
The list of National System MPAs is the official inventory of all MPAs that have been formally included in and recognized as part of the National System of MPAs. This list is a subset of all of the MPAs in U.S. waters, which are summarized in the MPA Inventory.
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