Official MPA map ver. 2

In order to evaluate progress towards achieving the global targets in the marine environment the WDPA is used to track the rate of change via the Protected Planet Reports, the SDG process as well as several academic publications see for example "Evaluating official marine protected area coverage for Aichi Target 11: appraising the data and methods that define our progress" Thomas et al. 2014). The progress in growth in the MPA network, resulting from a combination of new sites being created,existing sites being expanded and a number of large sites being announced, will contribute even more to an increase in the total protected area coverage. An important tool in tracking the continued evolution of the global MPA network is the "Official MPA map" series developed in conjunction with IUCN which utilises versions of the WDPA to highlight progress in reaching the global targets.

Statistics and Map

The second "Official MPA map", available here, was made available for the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016 in conjunction with the Protected Planet 2016 Report. The Protected Planet 2016 Report highlights that:

  1. 10.2% of coastal & marine areas under national jurisdiction are covered by marine protected areas (Exclusively No Take = 2.85%)
  2. 0.25% of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction are covered by marine protected areas
  3. 4.12% of the Global Oceans are covered by marine protected areas (Exclusively No Take = 0.91%)

#Note: All statistics are based upon the April 2016 version of the WDPA which was used as the basis for the analysis in the Protected Planet report. Since then several large MPAs have been expanded or created, see the "Discussion" section for more detail on this. UNEP-WCMC are currently working with the relevant data providers to incorporate these sites into the WDPA. Once this is done a new set of statistics will be created.

Official Mpa Map April2016 Lowres


The progress in growth in the MPA network, resulting from a combination of new sites being created, existing sites being expanded and a number of large sites being announced, will contribute even more to an increase in the total protected area coverage. The United Kingdom and Spain, in particular, have designated more than 30 and 50 sites respectively. In the United States, the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, originally designated in 2009, was expanded in 2014 to over 1 million km², on the 26th of August 2016, the existing Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the USA was expanded,by just under 1.15million km², to just over 1.5 million km², making it the largest protected area on the planet, while on the 15th of September 2016 a new site was created off the Atlantic coast - the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument with an area over 12,700 km² . The UK government in its March 2015 budget (section 2.259) committed to proceed with the designation of an MPA around the Pitcairn Islands which would have an area greater than 800,000 km², on the 15th of September 2016 this site was formally designated along with a 444,916 km² marine protected areas around the island of St Helena and the announcement of two further marine protected areas around Ascension Island (at 445,390 km²) and Tristan da Cunha (at 750,510 km²) to be designated by 2019 and 2020 respectively. In New Zealand, the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill would establish a 620,000 km² fully protected marine sanctuary that would cover an area of approximately 15% of New Zealand's the Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ – from the shoreline to 200 nautical miles). Once passed, this bill would significantly enhance the existing protection of this area. In late 2015, Palau passed the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act, which will preserve 80% of its EEZ as a no-take area protected from all exploitation. The Marine Sanctuary will be fully functioning by 2020. Malta has designated eight new MPAs with a total area of 3,450 km². In late 2015, Chile announced that it would be creating a new 300,035km² MPA called the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park (this site was designated in March 2016 and formally gazetted in August 2016) and that it was also beginning negotiations to designate a 720,000 km² MPA around Rapa Nui/Easter Island.

In October 2016 the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) reached consensus on a New Zealand/United States proposal to establish a large-scale marine protected area in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. The Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area, will come into force on the 1st of December 2017, covers 1.55 million km², of which 1.12 million km² or 72%, is fully protected (No-Take Area). It will be the world's largest Marine Protected Area. The duration of the MPA has been set at 35 years for the General Protection Zone, with a consensus decision by the CCAMLR membership required to continue the MPA beyond this period.

Key messages

Download the key messages relating to the marine environment from the Protected Planet 2016 report.