National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Marine Protected Area Center
The National Marine Protected Area Center was established in 2000 to lead the development of a national system of marine protected areas in the USA, as called for in Executive Order 13158. The MPA Center is a partnership between NOAA and the Department of the Interior to serve as a resource to all federal, state, territorial and tribal programs responsible for the health of the nation's oceans, and is located within NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
The Center is the nation's hub for building innovative partnerships and tools to protect special ocean places. The Center works in partnership with the federal, state, tribal, and local governments, tribes, and stakeholders to develop and implement a national system of MPAs. These collaborative efforts help ensure more efficient, effective use of MPAs now and in the future to conserve and sustain the nation's vital marine resources.
The National MPA Center has three goals, based on Executive Order 13158:
- Build and maintain the National System of MPAs
- Improve MPA stewardship and effectiveness
- Facilitate international, national, and regional coordination of MPA activities.
To carry out these goals, the MPA Center focuses on three primary functions:
- Building capacity of federal and state marine protected area programs to more effectively manage natural and cultural marine resources.
- Communicating with and engaging stakeholders to help connect marine protected areas to communities.
- Serving as a unique and neutral source of marine protected area-related science, information and tools for coastal and ocean decision-makers.
The National Marine Sanctuary System in the USA conserves a network of ocean and Great Lakes environments with extraordinary biodiversity, scenic beauty, cultural heritage and economic opportunity. Within the system, each national marine sanctuary has unique ecosystems, resources and human uses. And while all sanctuaries emphasize resource protection and decision-making based on the best available scientific and socio-economic data, they are managed per their own individual issues and opportunities.
The Marine National Monument Program concerns three Pacific Marine National Monuments, the Marianas Trench, Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll, and also co-manages the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The Program coordinates the development of management plans, scientific exploration and research programs within the Marine National Monuments in the Pacific Islands Region. Under NOAA's existing authorities and the Antiquities Act, the Marine National Monument Program works with federal (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and regional partners and stakeholders to conserve and protect the marine resources in these large marine protected areas.
The Pacific Islands Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Pacific Islands Regional Office manages programs that support both domestic and international conservation and management of living marine resources within the Pacific. The Pacific Islands Region is comprised of American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, and other U.S. Pacific islands.
The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Center administers and conducts scientific research and monitoring programs that support the domestic and international conservation and management of living marine resources across the Pacific Islands Region. Key research focus areas include:
- coral reef ecosystems
- fishery and protected species population assessments
- marine mammal and sea turtle ecology
- life history studies of fish
- monitoring of fisheries activity
- human dimensions of resource management
- development of bycatch reduction technologies
- health and disease in protected species
- fishery interactions with protected species
- ecosystem monitoring and integrated assessment
- and impacts of climate change on the environment and ecosystems.
NOAA has three priorities for its National Ocean Service, including conservation.
Conserving coastal places provides economic benefits to local communities. These communities rely on dollars spent on activities such as recreation and tourism. NOS works to conserve marine areas — and preserve the economic benefits of these special places to local communities — through its coastal management and place-based conservation programs. These include Coastal Zone Management, the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Coral Reef Conservation Program. NOS will continue to express the inherent value and national interest in conserving these special places for the American public.