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 three goals:
- Improve MPA design, stewardship and effectiveness
- Connect MPA programs
- Advance public understanding and partnerships about MPA programs
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.