US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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Framework for the National System of MPAs

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The Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States of America is being updated. It was available for public comment from October 27 through December 26, 2014; these comments are now being reviewed. The updated Framework incorporates experience gained implementing the National System and advice from the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and MPA programs.  The Framework is required by Executive Order 13158 on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and provides overarching guidance on the development and implementation of the National System.   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.

In November 2008, NOAA completed and published the original Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas after several years of collaborative work with federal and state agencies, stakeholder groups and the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. 

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Write to mpainfo@noaa.gov.