Skip to content
Marine Protection Atlas

MPAtlas is a leading resource for global marine protected area information, tracking progress toward conservation goals and serving as a resource to the conservation community.

Photo: Spencer Watson

The Marine Protection Atlas (MPAtlas), a project of Marine Conservation Institute, was launched in 2012 as a way to provide a more nuanced picture of global marine protection. We emphasize a focus on quality, in addition to quantity, as the global conservation community works toward 30x30.

We aim to categorize, track, and visualize MPAs based on the conservation outcomes they are likely to achieve. Our primary goal is to identify and track fully and highly protected areas.

The MPA Guide, published in Science in 2021, was co-created by Marine Conservation Institute, Oregon State University, the UN World Conservation Monitoring Center, National Geographic Pristine Seas, and many other partners. Since its publication, the MPAtlas team has been building the world’s first comprehensive global database of MPA assessments using The MPA Guide. Building upon the official World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), these assessments supplement the self-reported data using a standardized framework to categorize MPAs by their stage of establishment and level of protection. These metrics help us estimate the expected conservation outcomes of an MPA and identify areas that achieve the greatest conservation benefits - fully and highly protected areas.

These metrics will drive the next conversations about and goals for international progress in marine conservation. Using our assessment database, we provide more clarity to measures of global progress, what more is needed to achieve conservation goals, and the expected outcomes and conservation benefits of different types of protected areas.

It is important to note that the information on is constantly being updated and is dependent on feedback from our community for accuracy. We welcome feedback or additional information and can be reached at We also request that any use or citation of our data be time stamped. Thank you.

Learn more about the evolution of the MPAtlas database.

The Marine Protection Atlas tracks fully and highly protected MPAs, those with the greatest conservation benefits, by conducting science-based assessments developed by leading experts.

Why Protect the Ocean?

The ocean is critical to the survival of all life on Earth, including humans.

Learn More

Global Conservation Targets

Several international goals and targets have set the stage for a global push toward marine protection. 

Learn More

Why Fully and Highly Protected Areas?

Studies show that fully and highly protected areas provide the greatest conservation benefits.

Learn More

How Much Do We Need?

How much of the ocean do we need to protect to safeguard biodiversity and build climate resilience?

Learn More

SeaStates Reports

MPAtlas periodically reports on global, regional, and nationwide progress toward conservation goals.

Learn More


Check out the scientific literature published by our team of scientists at Marine Conservation Institute.

Learn More

Join us in advancing ocean science around the world. Please visit our Take Action page or Donate to make our ocean healthier for us and future generations.