To maintain long-term ocean health, we need marine managed areas to ensure that special places and life forms are available for future generations. This interactive mapping application provides detailed information on over 3,500 managed saltwater and coastal areas in U.S. waters.
Our goal is to put area-based regulations into the hands of mariners - on-the-water and in real-time - with easy access through desktop and mobile devices, and eventually through nautical charting software.
ProtectedSeas uses a standardized process to collect, snythesize, and map marine managed areas.
Restrictions: The restricted activities listed for each managed area provide a summary of regulations (particular to extraction of natural, living resources) cited in official legislation and do not present the regulations in their entirety. For complete description of the regulations, users need to consult the official record, federal register notice or state/federal code (provided as URL links when available).
Boundaries: When available, the boundary data are obtained from the managing agency or authoritative source referenced for each managed area. When these data are not available, have not been drawn or are out-of-date, the boundaries are drafted from coordinates and boundary descriptions cited in state or federal code. Links to online sources/code are provided for each managed area in the site attributes.
Managed area boundaries are created for use at specific spatial scales. State and regional boundaries that cover large areas will often use a low-moderate resolution shoreline to depict the landward boundary of an MPA, while local boundaries that cover small areas will use a higher resolution shoreline. In areas where local and regional scale boundaries overlap, discrepancies between these shorelines (mapped at different scales) will be apparent.
The database that supports this application is updated monthly with new boundaries, boundary modifications, updates to regulations and other information obtained through feedback provided from users. Changes made between versions are recorded and published with the downloadable data. If you notice errors for an area, use the feedback button in the area details to let us know!
ProtectedSeas is working to map all global areas - but it's a big task! If you have MPA data you would like to share, please send us a message via our Contact Form
Multiple regulations may apply in the same location yet be managed under differing authorities. When providing regulations information, this application does not assume precedence or hierarchy in listing of authorities and regulations. Many areas of U.S. waters have overlapping jurisdictions and a given ocean space may be managed under different authorities for different intents. As such, it may show that a given ocean area regulates a certain activity (e.g. commercial fishing) under one authority while prohibiting that same activity under a different authority. This application is intended to show all regulations that apply to a given ocean area and does not impose an order on how these regulations apply.
Most marine managed areas allow a wide range of recreational uses. However, this application focuses specifically on the kinds of extraction activities that are restricted or prohibited by law in U.S. waters. While not the focus of this effort, details on these kinds of uses and recreational opportunities may be found through the website links provided for each managed area.
To maintain long-term ocean health, we need marine managed areas to ensure that special places and life forms are available for future generations.This interactive mapping application provides detailed information on over 3,500 managed saltwater and coastal areas in U.S. waters.
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