Blue Parks

Blue Parks Logo

Lead Organizations

  • Marine Conservation Institute

Project Description

The Blue Parks initiative improves marine protected area effectiveness globally to revitalize ocean ecosystems, safeguard marine biodiversity, store blue carbon, and sustain local communities. 

The Challenge 

A healthy ocean is essential to human survival and prosperity, and yet human activities have put the ocean in peril. We must take immediate and effective action to restore overfished populations, recover damaged ecosystems, and safeguard marine biodiversity, for us and for future generations. Strong marine protected areas (MPAs) provide vital benefits to humanity by conserving marine biodiversity, enhancing fisheries, and mitigating climate change. MPAs only produce these benefits if they are strongly protected and well managed, but most MPAs – over 90% – are neither. To safeguard life in the sea, we must improve MPA quality and coverage. 

Blue Parks Strategy 

The Blue Park Criteria, based on the science of MPA effectiveness and developed in collaboration with marine conservation scientists around the globe, educate decision-makers, MPA managers, and community leaders about how to implement effective MPAs. The annual Blue Park Awards accelerate high-quality MPA coverage by incentivizing the Blue Park standard with international recognition. Our team helps local ocean advocates achieve the standard through Blue Spark collaborations – we consult with local leaders and connect them with the needed technical, and political, and financial capacity to create future Blue Parks. Through education, incentive, and collaboration, Blue Parks improves MPA quality and is assembling a network of effective protection that will safeguard life in the sea. 

A Network of Effective Protection 

Blue Parks is assembling a global network to improve marine conservation outcomes. As of 2023, there are 27 awarded Blue Parks in 22 countries covering 2,744,687 km2 of ocean (0.75%). Ten Blue Sparks collaborations approaching the Blue Park standard represent 4 additional countries and another 2.7M km2 of ocean area.

To achieve the target of effectively protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030 and revitalizing ocean ecosystems, we must scale up MPA quality and coverage rapidly. Blue Parks is strategically designed to help accomplish this goal by promoting a science-based standard and incentivizing governments and communities to achieve it. 


Sarah O. Hameed, PhD

Project Website

Marine Conservation Institute - Blue Parks

Project Info at UN Ocean Decade Website

UN Decade - Blue Parks

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