MPA Perspectives

The MPA Center is collaborating with Open Channels, an online community for ocean planners and managers, on a new MPA blog to critically explore important ideas and stimulate dialogue on the role of MPAs in achieving conservation outcomes.

Summer Reading: A Novel Approach to Marine Protected Areas

shoreline of american samoa

Maybe it's all those summer reading lists that draw me in every summer to distant places and terrific characters. But it seems like a good time to appreciate some of the many great novels that are set in and around our nation's marine protected areas. Social scientists are now documenting what writers have known for centuries – telling a compelling story is the best way to help people understand and engage in an issue...

Nominating New National Marine Sanctuaries – A New Era for Marine Protected Areas

shoreline of american samoa

Our nation's system of national marine sanctuaries protect some of America's most significant marine and Great Lakes assets – from vibrant coral reefs and kelp forests to historic shipwrecks and extraordinarily productive fishing grounds. In doing so, NOAA economists estimate that across all our sanctuaries, about $6 billion is generated each year in local coastal and ocean-dependent activities, such as diving, tourism, commercial and recreational fishing, and research. This demonstrates that sanctuaries are an essential component of our coastal economies, as well as the long-term conservation of our oceans...

Maritime Domain Awareness - How technology is improving compliance and enforcement of MPAs

man launching an uas

There aren't sign posts in the ocean, no billboards or ranger-staffed kiosks alerting ocean-goers that they are entering a special area where certain activities are regulated or prohibited. Unlike on land, special areas in the ocean are not marked or gated or fenced. So without posted boundaries, public compliance to MPA regulations relies on effective outreach and education, as well routine monitoring and enforcement...

MPAs and Recreation: Being a Special Place Can Be a Double-Edged Sword

whale fin breaching in foreground, whale watching boat in the background

Americans and our visitors are increasingly discovering the nation's oceans as a place to play. This trend is hard to miss. Any visit to the coast or to travel and tourism websites reveals the diversity of ways we now recreate in the ocean. The ongoing explosion of ocean recreation involves familiar uses pursued by ever-more people (e.g. kayaking, wildlife viewing, SCUBA), as well as the emergence of new activities not envisioned just a few years ago (e.g. stand-up paddle boards, kayak fishing, jet packs)...

Welcome to the National Marine Protected Areas Center's New Blog

sunset at sunset beach, oregon - photo credit nps

Driven by expanding threats to the world's oceans, the past two decades have seen growing interest in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a way to conserve ecologically, economically and culturally important places, the habitats they contain, and the ecosystem services they provide...