Marine Conservation Institute, a leader in protecting marine biodiversity, today announced it has released a new online tool that helps people explore and track the progress of global marine protected area campaigns and initiatives. Called “MPA Campaign Tracker,” the tool is part of the comprehensive MPAtlas.org, a Marine Conservation Institute website property made possible by the generous support of the Waitt Foundation. The news was announced to coincide with World Oceans Day which was on June 8, Capitol Hill Ocean Week the week of June 9 and National Oceans Month the entire month of June.
MPA Campaign Tracker lets people view marine protected area establishment campaigns at all levels of maturity and government involvement. It tracks successes and provides a glimpse of where conservation resources are being invested. Users can analyze marine protected area coverage and protection levels by country, other political region or biogeography/habitat.
“The new MPA Campaign Tracker is a highly valuable tool for the ocean conservation community as well as a great public showcase for all the wonderful work being done to establish broad networks of marine protected areas around the world,” said Ted Waitt, founder and board chairman of the Waitt Foundation. “We have been working with Marine Conservation Institute to support MPAtlas.org for several years now and MPA Campaign Tracker is an excellent addition.”
Marine Conservation Institute is encouraging other organizations in the ocean conservation community to add their campaigns into the tool. For example, MPA Campaign Tracker is tracking the worldwide progress towards protecting Hope Spots, an initiative by Mission Blue and partner organizations.
“A worldwide system of strongly protected marine areas is a vital part of saving our oceans for us and future generations,” said Dr. Lance Morgan, president of Marine Conservation Institute. “MPA Campaign Tracker will help everyone see the progress we are all making in this important ocean conservation effort.”
The tool also helps users see where conservation gaps exist and will help keep governments honest when they make claims about how much marine environment they protect.
The broader MPAtlas.org, where MPA Campaign Tracker is located, is an interactive and up-to-date resource to learn more about marine protected areas around the world with specifics about their protection status, general history, human-use information and contact details. It enables people to learn more about places that they care about and if they are protected or need protection. It contains one-off efforts as well as the more comprehensive campaigns and initiatives in the MPA Campaign Tracker.
Strongly protected marine areas are a goal of the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES, pronounced glôr-ees), an initiative announced by Marine Conservation Institute in October of 2013. A strategic, science-based way to safeguard marine ecosystems on a global scale, GLORES is designed to catalyze strong protection for at least 20% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region by 2030. MPA Campaign Tracker will highlight the GLORES initiative and Global Ocean Refuges as they are established.
About Marine Conservation Institute
Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly-experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)—a strategic, cost-effective way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. Founded in 1996, Marine Conservation Institute is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization with offices in Seattle, near San Francisco and in Washington DC. For more information, please go to: www.marine-conservation.org
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By the Sea Communications