Cool New Map Shows Marine Protected Areas And Their Status Across North America

marine protected areas image

Image via CEC

There are nearly 2,000 marine protected areas in North America, part of a (hopefully) growing network of coastline areas that are a somewhat safer zone for marine life. MPAs are vital to giving threatened species room to rebound and provide habitat for migrating species. Everyone knows TreeHuggers love a good map, and the North American Environmental Atlas and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation have put out a new map that shows all the protected areas from Canada to Mexico, including the protection status and the parties responsible for managing the sites.

"North Americans are particularly reliant upon oceans. At the same time, human economic activity is driving changes profoundly affecting the integrity and balance of our marine ecosystems, with serious habitat destruction, wildlife impacts and loss of biodiversity. Greater knowledge and collaboration are essential elements in safeguarding these priceless ecosystems," said Evan Lloyd, CEC Executive Director.

The map shows how much progress we've made - and how much we still need to make - for establishing protected areas for marine life. Only about 1% of the world's oceans are protected. Issues that still stand in the way of creating more areas include enforcement and conflicts with fishing and shipping industries.

Sylvia Earle made a TED wish to establish more MPAs and a recent trek to the Galapagos by the best minds in marine science helped launch the TED Mission Blue effort.

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