Marine Protected Areas

Coral reefs are one of the most productive, yet most threatened, ecosystems on the planet. A wide variety of activities ranging from coastal development to global warming to overfishing have endangered coral reef health. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) provide a comprehensive approach to addressing these threats and are one of the most promising solutions for the survival of coral reefs and the many benefits they provide to people.

What are MPAs?

MPAs are areas of coastal land and water that are specifically designated to protect natural resources and ecosystems. MPAs create a framework for sustainable use and resource management that is designed to sustain coral reef health. MPAs provide sites that allow for the preservation of biodiversity and the restocking of fish and shellfish populations. Also, MPAs can improve water quality by including adjacent watersheds as a means to control the impacts of sedimentation and pollution. Effective MPAs must be part of an integrated approach where coral reef communities are protected from multiple stresses, so they can recover faster from any single disturbance.