Marine Protected Areas

shutterstock 111405599Marine Protected Area (or MPA) is a generic term that includes a variety of types of protected areas in the marine environment, some of which are known by other terms. As defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature / World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN/WCPA), and as used in PAME's work, an MPA is:

"A clearly defined geographical space recognized, dedicated, and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values."
All Arctic states have legal and policy tools for designating and managing MPAs in the Arctic that offer flexibility with respect to level of protection and management regime. IUCN has developed categories in order to compare protected areas at a global scale, and guidelines for applying these categories.

Click here to see the categories.

MPA INdicator forsidaArctic Protected Areas: Indicator Report
The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and Protection of the Arctic Marine Environments (PAME) working groups of the Arctic Council developed the 2017 Arctic Protected Areas - Indicator report. It provides an overview of the status and trends of protected areas in the Arctic. The data used represents the results of the 2016 update to the Protected Areas Database submitted by each of the Arctic Council member states. This report uses the above-mentioned IUCN Categories, consequently, the level of protection and governance of these areas varies throughout the circumpolar region and its countries.

Click here to download the MPA Indicator Report.

Click here to download the data used in the report.

Click here to see the marine graphics from the report.

Screen Shot 2018 11 02 at 13.42.46UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Protected Planet: Arctic presentation from the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2018. The The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the most comprehensive global database on terrestrial and marine protected areas.

It combines protected areas information held by UNEP-WCMC and PAME/CAFF to produce the most comprehensive data set on protected
areas for the Arctic.

Click here to see the presentation.

MPA toolboxPAME MPA-network toolbox: Area-based conservation measures and ecological connectivity
PAME’s “Toolbox” project aims to develop guidance to assist Arctic states in advancing their MPA networks by providing theory and tools that can be used to assess and protect the diversity of genes, species, populations, habitats, features, and ecosystems; their interactions and processes; and the ability to adapt to change.

This guidance is intended to inform decision-makers, practitioners, Indigenous peoples, and stakeholders involved in developing MPA networks and ecosystem-based management in the marine Arctic. Most Arctic states have established some MPAs, but are still in the early stages of filling gaps and connecting and managing MPAs as ecologically functional MPA networks (CAFF & PAME 2016).

The project also intends to foster collaboration on MPA network development between Arctic countries, Permanent Participants, Arctic Council Working Groups, and the conservation and science communities. Scientific literature, traditional and local knowledge, and experience from elsewhere in the world show that a systematic and participatory approach to building MPA networks greatly improves conservation effectiveness (Cicin-Sain and Belfiore 2005). Enabling collaboration and participation is an important aim of this project. As the stated in the Framework, the purpose of a pan-Arctic MPA network is both “to protect and restore marine biodiversity, ecosystem function and special natural features” and to “preserve cultural heritage and subsistence natural resources for present and future generations”.

Click here to download the report.

CoverFramework for a Pan-Arctic Network of Marine Protected Areas
PAME released the framework for a pan-Arctic network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in 2015. It sets out a common vision for international cooperation in MPA network development and management, based on best pract
ices and previous Arctic Council initiatives. This framework aims to inform the development of MPAs and networks of MPAs that are located within the national jurisdiction of Arctic States, and chart a course for future collaborative planning, management and actions for the conservation and protection of the Arctic marine environment.

The framework offers guidance; it is not legally binding. Each Arctic State pursues MPA development based on its own authorities, priorities and timelines.

The purpose of the pan-Arctic MPA network, composed of individual Arctic State MPA networks and other area-based conservation measures (see definitions in box below) , is to protect and restore marine biodiversity, ecosystem function and special natural features, and preserve cultural heritage and subsistence resources for present and future generations.

Having a joint framework in place confers a number of advantages that can support and enhance the work of individual Arctic States, such as:
  • Advancing cohesion and conservation effectiveness by strengthening ecological linkages among MPAs and MPA networks across the Arctic;
  • Applying best practices for establishing and managing MPAs and MPA networks to the Arctic environment;
  • Supporting achievement of domestic conservation objectives and international commitments and targets;
  • Strengthening intergovernmental cooperation on MPA management and scientific issues among Arctic MPA authorities; and
  • Addressing some issues of concern for shared species.

Click here to download the MPA report - The Framework for a Pan-Arctic Network of Marine Protected Areas