Marine protected areas (MPAs) are safe havens for fish, whales, dolphins, corals, sea turtles and thousands of other precious plants and animals in the sea. They are also living laboratories for scientific research. New medicines to treat diseases are discovered in the marine environment. Vital nutrients are derived from kelp and micro algae. Peoples of all nations depend on the ocean for food, oxygen and medicine. The ocean also regulates our weather and climate.
Yet only three percent of the ocean is protected by MPAs. Less than one percent is in marine reserves that fully protect all species and habitats. U.S. partnerships with other countries and regional organizations are helping to conserve and protect the ocean’s irreplaceable resources by establishing effectively managed marine protected areas in more regions around the world.