Habitat Protection

The establishment, expansion, and proper management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are key to protect some of UK’s most precious underwater treasures.



According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a Marine Protected Area (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.”


Protecting Marine Habitats

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are the most straightforward way to preserve biodiversity because each increases the endurance of the marine environment from the effects of harmful human activities and climate change.

Oceana works towards a network of diverse and connected sites. Thanks to our expeditions—where we not only research shallow waters, but also deep-sea waters, which are also home to vulnerable sea life—we are able to obtain valuable data that serves as the basis of our conservation proposals.

© Oceana / Carlos Minguel

The many benefits of fully or strictly protected MPAs, also known as “Super MPAs” in the UK

Fully or strictly protected Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a category of MPA offering the strictest level of protection, corresponding to the IUCN MPA category 1a (Strict Nature Reserve). They typically prohibit all industrial, extractive and destructive uses and activities that disturb marine life and habitats such as fishing, mining, mineral extraction, dredging, aquaculture and construction etc.  They are called by different names, most commonly “No-Take Zones” or “integral marine reserves”.

The UK Marine Protected Areas network covers about 30% of its seas, but no-take marine reserves cover less than 0.01% of these waters, whereas they are the most effective at rebuilding ocean resilience.


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