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Marine Conservation Institute Announces the 2021 Blue Park Award Winners Marine Protected Areas Recognized for Outstanding Conservation

Thursday 9 December 2021


Dr. Sarah Hameed, Senior Scientist & Blue Parks Director Marine Conservation Institute, USA

Dr. Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute, USA

Press Kit (map, images, logos, background): 

[Seattle, WA, December 9, 2021-Marine Conservation Institute announces four new marine protected areas (MPAs) have won the prestigious Blue Park Award for achieving the highest science-based standards for marine life protection and management. The four new areas join a growing network of Blue Parks around the world designed to protect and regenerate our ocean’s biodiversity and include:

Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park and Reserve in Kenya
Parque Nacional Jardines de la Reina in Cuba
Nacionalni Park Brijuni in Croatia
Parque Nacional Revillagigedo in Mexico

“Congratulations to this year’s Blue Park Award winners,” said Dr. Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute. “These MPAs represent what is possible and necessary for ocean-based solutions to mitigate climate change. We hope the Blue Park Award recognition will elevate their work, attract the world’s support and inspire more MPAs to commit to rigorous, science-based solutions to ensure our oceans are healthier, more resilient and will accelerate strong protection for critical ocean habitats.”

A total of 21 MPAs have been awarded with the Blue Park Award since its inception in 2017. This award recognizes outstanding efforts by nations, nonprofits, MPA managers, and local communities to effectively protect marine ecosystems now and into the future. The award is given annually to recognize these astonishing places and their vibrant marine life. To date, Blue Parks represent nearly 2 million square kilometers of ocean, spanning 20 countries. Marine Conservation Institute’s rigorous science-based criteria and an international panel of esteemed marine scientists are key to vetting and ensuring that these MPAs provide examples of effective marine life conservation.

“The Blue Parks Award is intended to motivate other nations to strive for strong and effective MPAs that conserve marine wildlife,” says Dr. Sarah Hameed, Senior Scientist and Director of the Blue Parks Program. “The Blue Park Award supports international progress towards the Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, the longer-term goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030, and making the ocean and marine life more resilient in the face of mounting threats like climate change.”

Marine Conservation Institute has an incubator program entitled Blue Sparks with nine MPA projects, all reflecting significant political and civic interest in improving their marine protections and are on track for becoming tomorrow’s Blue Parks. The Institute collaborates with Blue Spark partners to plan and improve their MPAs, using Blue Parks criteria as the blueprints for a better protected ocean. Blue Sparks include:

Parque Nacional Coiba, Panama
Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
California Seamounts, US
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, US
Sidika (Áreas Marinhas Comunitárias Protegidas Na Bahía de Inhambane), Mozambique
Namancurá-Burdwood Bank II & Yaganes, Argentina
Piedra del Viento Sanctuary, Chile
Expanded Protections for the Galápagos, Ecuador
Cocos-Galápagos Swimway, Ecuador & Costa Rica


About Blue Parks 

Blue Park Awards were established by the Marine Conservation Institute to encourage governments to safeguard marine wildlife, secure critical habitats, promote resistance to climate change, and ensure the beauty of our oceans for future generations. The effort aims to assemble an effective network that protects and sustains marine life and habitats globally. As of today, there are 21 marine protected areas that have been awarded Blue Park status. In addition to awarding new Blue Parks today, Marine Conservation Institute has launched collaborations –Blue Sparks– with groups planning new marine protected areas and upgrading existing marine protected areas in the U.S., Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Panama, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mozambique to ensure their efforts result in future Blue Parks.

About Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute, founded in 1996, works in the U.S. and globally to seek strong protection for at least 30% of the ocean by 2030-for us and future generations. Our focus on protecting the ocean’s most important places follows several lines of work: identifying and advocating for strong marine protected areas; improving laws and other tools to better conserve marine biodiversity; catalyzing effective conservation by recognizing and elevating the best marine protected areas as Blue Parks and Blue Sparks; and accurately reporting on conservation metrics with our Marine Protection Atlas (