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April 12, 2007

Contact: David Hall, NOAA
(301) 713-3066, ext. 191

NOAA and Partners Release “Road Map” for Establishing Marine Protected Area Networks

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in collaboration with the IUCN-World Conservation Union’s World Commission on Protected Areas, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, World Wildlife Fund-Australia, and The Nature Conservancy today released Establishing Networks of Marine Protected Areas – Making It Happen, a publication that provides decision makers and resource managers with a framework for establishing networks of marine protected areas.

“Marine protected area networks can provide enormous benefits to the ocean environment, to communities and to nations,” said Joseph Uravitch, director of the National MPA Center, a Commerce and Interior department program located within NOAA. “Establishing Networks of MPAs – Making It Happen offers resource managers a road map for establishing successful MPA networks.”

Inspired by discussions from a several international forums, the publication captures current international best practices in developing MPA networks. The World Summit on Sustainable Development, the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the G8 Group of Nations have called for establishing a global system of MPA networks by the year 2012.

“There is a clear need to link present and future marine protected areas of the United States into an effective network,” said Mark Hixon, Ph.D., Oregon State University professor of zoology and member of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. “To meet the various goals of state, federal, territorial and tribal MPAs, this integrated system must be based on sound natural and social science, as well as broad participation of stakeholders and concerned citizens. Establishing Networks of Marine Protected Areas - Making It Happen seeks to capture emerging international best practice on the full range of considerations needed to build networks globally.”

Establishing Networks of Marine Protected Areas – Making It Happen is available on the IUCN Web page at

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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