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State / Commonwealth / Territory - Marine Managed Areas (MMAs)

P U E R T O    R I C O

The Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico (DNER) is responsible for the management of 25 areas with marine components including Natural Reserves, a Commonwealth Forest and a Marine Reserve. The Natural and Marine Reserves are managed by the Natural Reserves and Commonwealth Forests Divisions of the Bureau of Reserves, Refuges, and Coastal Resources of DNER whereas the Commonwealth Forest is administered by the Forestry Division (DNER). Additional sites are administered and managed by the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust. All of the sites included in the MMA Inventory have been designated by the Puerto Rico Planning Board, except Isla Desecheo Marine Reserve and Seven Seas Natural Reserve which was designated by the Puerto Rico Legislature. Most sites have year-round protection, excluding three Red Hind (Epinephelus guttatus) Spawning Aggregation Sites, which have a temporary fishing ban (December to February), designated by a joint effort between DNER and the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council.

Resources protected:

  • Ecologica l- Many sites include critical habitat and essential fish habitat for endangered and threatened species including coral reefs, seagrass meadows, lagoons, mangroves, estuaries, wetlands, offshore keys, sandy beaches and rocky shores.
  • Biological - The sites included in this system protect a great diversity of endemic, endangered and keystone species both terrestrial and marine. A few sites are designated to protect the biological phenomenon known as bioluminescence which only occurs in a few Caribbean islands.
  • Cultural and Historical - Many sites feature archaeological evidence of Pre-Columbian time, including Taíno archaeological sites. Other sites protect historical buildings remnants of the Sugar Cane Industry in Puerto Rico, lighthouses and shipwrecks.

Relevant Agencies/Programs:

  Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER)
  • Natural Reserves Division
  • Commonwealth Forests Division
  • Coastal Management Unit
  • Marine Resources Division
  Caribbean Fishery Management Council (CFMC)

Puerto Rico Conservation Trust (Fideicomiso de Conservación de Puerto Rico)

Puerto Rico National Parks Company (Compañía de Parques Nacionales)

Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Marine Managed Area Systems:

Natural Reserves
  (Puerto Rico Planning Board Resolution PU-002, and extensions as well by special legislation)
Commonwealth Forests
  (Law # 133 of July 1, 1975 and amendments)
Marine Reserve
  (Puerto Rico Legislature Law # 57)
Seasonal Fishing Closure Zones
  (DNER Administrative Order 96-09)
(CFMC-CFR-Federal Register 61(235):64485-64486)





Revised September 08, 2023 by the MPA Webmaster.
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