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ProtectedSeas Completes First Atlas of European Marine Protected Area Regulations


European MPA regulations now freely available on its Navigator platform along with North America, the Caribbean, High Seas

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The US-based ProtectedSeas Navigator, a free interactive map of current marine life regulations and boundaries, published regulation summaries and Level of Fishing protection assessments for over 6,700 marine protected areas (MPAs) across 44 European countries. This represents a major expansion of the database, which includes over 13,000 MPAs in over 80 countries and overseas territories, including North America, the Caribbean and the High Seas. Global coverage is anticipated in 2022.

“By our calculation, total European waters are roughly two times larger than the land area of the European Union,” said ProtectedSeas Director Virgil Zetterlind. “While the total number of European MPAs is impressive, based on our ProtectedSeas’ Level of Fishing Protection, less than 0.15 percent of European waters — roughly the size of Kosovo — are highly protected from fishing, which is in line with other estimates.”

Navigator includes a synopsis of key regulations, allowed status of specific fishing and other human activities, and a standardized level of fishing protection score for each area. All information is available in English and in each country’s official language.

ProtectedSeas offers this tool as a free, open-source platform to aid MPA managers, resource protection staff, policy makers, scientists and the public in marine conservation planning.

International Navigator data is cross referenced to areas in the IUCN World Database on Protected Areas for those conducting global assessments.

Collating marine protection detail at the local, state and global levels using the same methods is critical for supporting MPA evaluation, and MPA planning globally. Detailed regulatory information can also assist many types of conservation analysis including assessments of species health, anthropogenic impacts, and progress towards protecting 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.

“We are thrilled to share over six years of intense data collection with our marine conservation colleagues to aid in the analysis of global MPAs to improve awareness and compliance with the protection of these special places so critical for ocean health,” said Zetterlind.

Navigator data is available under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

About ProtectedSeas: Protected Seas is the curator of a growing and open dataset of boundaries and regulations for marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine managed areas (MMAs) globally. Learn more at:

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