Understanding Marine Protected Areas

Browse here for the latest science, tools and information for MPA programs and others seeking to better understand and manage MPAs.

Marine Protected Areas Inventory

NOAA's Marine Protected Areas Inventory describes all MPAs in US waters, where they are and what they do. This comprehensive geospatial database combines publicly available data with information from state and federal MPA programs.

Marine Protected Areas Science

Scientific understanding of MPAs is growing rapidly. Research has shown that MPAs are effective at increasing the abundance and diversity of marine life within their boundaries. In order to gain support from and build trust with MPA stakeholders, MPA managers and planners must use the best available science in designing and managing MPAs.