National Marine Protected Areas Center
The United States has developed a national system of MPAs to connect and strengthen the nation's MPAs and MPA programs. The national system is described in detail in the Framework for a National System of Marine Protected Areas for the United States (PDF).
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 rely on natural and social science for the design and management of these special areas.
The MPA Federal Advisory Committee advises NOAA and the Department of the Interior on ways to strength the nation's system of MPAs. It includes representatives of diverse stakeholder groups, including scientists, academia, commercial fishermen, anglers, divers, state and tribal resource managers, the energy and tourism industries, and environmentalists, among others. MPA Federal Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public and provide opportunities for public comment.