June 7, 2012

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World Ocean Day marks the official launch of MPAtlas. An online digital map that assembles key information on marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world, it is a project of the Marine Conservation Institute, in partnership with the Waitt Foundation. We protect our future by protecting the ocean. By safeguarding vital marine habitats/areas/places, we refuel the engine of our blue planet, enriching our culture, society and economy. The stories of vibrant ocean places are cataloged on MPAtlas.
In a world where fisheries and marine biodiversity are declining, marine protected areas are an essential tool to alter the oceans’ downward trajectory. Scientists have repeatedly shown that MPAs rapidly improve the biomass and diversity of ocean life in both tropical and temperate ecosystems.  These benefits have motivated a number of nations to set targets for establishing  MPAs in their ocean territories, and international bodies are working to establish MPAs on the high seas.

The MPAtlas is an interactive online compilation of key information on the world’s MPAs. Website viewers can both locate and learn about individual MPAs.  Additionally, the project has compiled and synthesized information to help website users understand the level of protection, biodiversity, biomass, size and management authorities of MPAs. The website describes country- and regional-level progress towards implementing MPAs and allows users to answer unique questions about the distribution of MPAs from social, political, and ecological contexts.

MPAtlas.org will engage various user groups, managers and conservationists and provide needed information and tools to the MPA community that will help advance marine conservation, and facilitate analysis of future MPA opportunities. 


From Marine Conservation Institute, edited by Deb Castellana

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