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Data & Analysis

  > Data & Analysis

The MPA Center has collected, analyzed and mapped data on existing U.S. MPAs and human uses of the ocean. The following are data & analysis projects that the MPA Center has completed or is currently working on. For additional information, click the links below.

MPA Inventory

The Marine Protected Areas Inventory (MPA Inventory) is a comprehensive geospatial database designed to catalog and classify marine protected areas within US waters. The Inventory contains information on over 1,600 sites and is the only such comprehensive dataset in the nation. You can download tabular and spatial data, and view mapping products here.

Mapping Human Uses of the Ocean

Since 2008, the MPA Center has been engaged in various participatory mapping efforts to document human uses of the coastal and marine environment throughout the U.S. Through a refined participatory process, the MPA Center has successfully mapped nearly 30 distinct uses of the ocean at multiple scales, across different domains and for a variety of marine management applications in California, Southern Maine and New Hampshire, and Hawaii.

For specific projects and a more detailed summary of the process, click here.

DeFacto MPAs

Marine areas that are established for reasons other than conservation, such as economic use, human health or safety, and protection of government or private property are called "de facto MPAs"(DFMPAs). De Facto MPAs may function similarly to traditional conservation-based MPAs by limiting potentially damaging activities or reducing access to sensitive areas. The MPA Center has several DFMPA resources available, including a database (coming soon) and an analysis report on U.S DFMPAs available here.

Analysis of U.S. MPAs

Using data from the Marine Protected Areas Inventory, the MPA Center has completed an analysis on the over 1,600 MPAs that currently exist in the U.S. Some interesting facts and trends have been revealed by this analysis. For example, about one-third of all U.S. waters are in some form of MPA. Nearly all U.S. MPAs are multiple use and allow a variety of human activities, including fishing and other extractive uses. In contrast, only 10% of all U.S. MPAs are no-take areas. This analysis of existing MPAs reveals important trends in how place-based management helps manage and conserve the nation's marine resources and ecosystems. Read more about the results of the analysis.


The MPA Center's GIS team has created multiple national and regional MPA maps, available for download.