About Marine Protected Areas
Chances are you've visited a marine protected area and don't know it. If you've gone fishing in central California, diving in the Florida Keys, camping in Acadia, swimming in Cape Cod, snorkeling in the Virgin Islands, birding in Weeks Bay, hiking along the Olympic Coast, or boating in Thunder Bay, you've probably been one of thousands of visitors to a marine protected area (MPA).
Some people interpret marine protected areas to mean areas closed to
all human activities. Others interpret them as special areas established
for conservation, but allowing specific recreation and commercial uses,
much like national parks. In reality, "marine protected area" is a term
that encompasses a variety of conservation and management methods in the
This collection of case studies represents a cross section of the different
types of sites listed in the MPA Inventory. The case studies examine the
history behind a site's designation as a marine protected area, discuss
the techniques used to manage the site's resources, and identify major
management issues facing the site. The case studies include two national
marine sanctuaries, one managed for its biological value and one for its
cultural resources, a national estuarine research reserve, and an experimental
fisheries management area.
The National Marine Protected Areas Center has developed a Classification System that provides agencies and stakeholders with a straightforward means to describe MPAs in purely functional terms using five objective characteristics common to most MPAs: 1) conservation focus; 2) level of protection; 3) permanence of protection; 4) constancy of protection; and 5) ecological scale of protection.
Find more information about things you can do to help our oceans and marine protected areas.
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