Water | Pacific Ocean | Ecotrope

A Map Of U.S. Marine Protected Areas

Ecotrope | May 17, 2012 2:30 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:31 p.m.

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Most of the marine protected areas in the U.S. allow multiple uses including fishing. Only 3 percent of MPAs in the U.S. are no-fishing areas.

Most of the marine protected areas in the U.S. allow multiple uses including fishing. Only 3 percent of MPAs in the U.S. are no-fishing areas.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a new map of all 1,700 marine protected areas in the country. A new report concludes 8 percent of all U.S. waters are protected by MPAs, though most allow fishing and other uses. No-fishing marine protected areas occupy only 3 percent of U.S. waters.

NOAA’s analysis of the map breaks the areas down by region. More than half of all the marine protected areas are in Alaska, 18 percent are in the Pacific Islands, and 8 percent are on the West Coast. Florida and federal waters have the highest number of individual MPAs. California has 218, Oregon has 34 and Washington has 73.

The mapping tool lets you click around and see what’s protected where and why.

In Oregon, the areas range from the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge in the Columbia River to the marine garden at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach and the essential fish habitat off the coast. I don’t see marine reserves at Redfish Rocks and Otter Rock, or the new reserves at Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua, but I do see research areas nearby that might be the precursors to the reserves.

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