US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

List of National System Sites

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In August 2013, the MPA Center announced 82 new members to the National System of MPAs. The List of National System MPAs is the official inventory of all MPAs that have been formally recognized as part of the national system. The MPAs on the List are those that went through the nomination process, and have been mutually agreed upon by both the MPA Center and the managing agency. Joining the National System of MPAs provides an opportunity for sites to work together on common conservation objectives. It does not change the management of the site or entail any restrictions on access or use. There are currently 437 members of the National System of MPAs.

Download as PDFs:
List of National System MPAs - Names and Locations (July 2013)
Detailed List of National System MPAs (July 2013)
List of 82 Nominated Sites Newly Added to the National System of MPAs (July 2013)
Analysis of National System Marine Protected Areas
Definitions of terms used in List and Summary Table 

Photo Tour of National System MPAs

National System MPAs at a Glance:

  • The national system contains 437 MPAs and covers an area of 191,030 square miles
  • 4% of U.S. waters (0-200 nautical miles) is covered by MPAs in the national system
  • About 77% of the total area of all national system sites is considered no-take, due to the large, highly protected Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
  • All 21 of the national system's priority conservation objectives are addressed by national system member sites
  • Every major ecoregion in the U.S. is represented to some extent site in the national system

Modifying MPAs on the List

Participation in the national system does not constrain the management agency from changing its management of the MPA. The management agency retains the ability to add or reduce levels of protection, change the size of the MPA, or make other changes. Management agencies are asked to provide all significant updates to the MPA Center, but would not be required to re-nominate the site. If the MPA no longer meets the national system MPA eligibility criteria, it will be removed from the List.

Removing MPAs from the List

MPA sites or systems that have been included on the List may be removed at any time by written request of the managing agency or the MPA Center for reasons including: the MPA ceases to exist; the MPA no longer meets the national system eligibility criteria; or the managing authority requests removal.

All requests from managing agencies by the MPA Center to remove an MPA from the national system must be made in writing, and will be made publicly available.

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