Marine Protected Areas
We're calling for at least 30% of the ocean to be highly or fully protected by 2030, to allow our ocean to recover and thrive once more.
Our experts have been working on getting more, better, Marine Protected Areas for nearly 40 years.
Marine Protected Areas are like underwater national parks, acting as sanctuaries for rare or threatened animals, plants and landscapes. They're a vital tool in safeguarding our ocean's future. We work in the UK to designate these areas and make sure these vulnerable habitats are being protected.
The Marine Protected Area (MPA) Reality Checker is a tool which maps out MPAs and areas of conservation around the UK, showing what fishing activity is happening in our protected seas and beyond.
Our Seasearch diving project is vital in helping to understand what's happening in our waters. Records from divers have already made a big difference to how much we know about British and Irish marine life.
Why Marine Protected Areas are important
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), like national parks and nature reserves on land, are set up to look after particular animals, plants and habitats at sea. There are currently 371 MPAs across UK seas, with 38% of UK waters now in designated protected areas.
Marine unProtected Areas
In early 2021 we released a report which found that damaging fishing, like bottom trawling, is taking place in 98% of the UK's offshore Marine Protected Areas intended to protect vital seabed habitats.
From seagrass planting and fish tagging to working with coastal communities, find out what we're doing at home and abroad to recover the health of our seas.
MPAs: your questions answered
Protecting the UK's seas is a complex matter. If you're confused about Marine Protected Areas and the challenges involved in managing them, this is a good place to start
Marine Protected Areas at risk
Effective management of the UK's network of Marine Protected Areas is vital to allow our seas to recover. Unfortunately, some of our largest protected areas still permit damaging fishing practices, like bottom trawling.
Use our interactive map to explore Marine Protected Areas and areas of conservation around the UK, and see where damaging fishing activity is still happening within our protected seas.