This webinar originally aired on 28 April 2020.

Presented by: Ellen Pikitch and Christine Santora of Stony Brook University and the Ocean Sanctuary Alliance, and Natasha Gownaris of Gettysburg College

There are numerous ongoing UN and non-governmental initiatives to map important marine areas at the global scale. As countries of the world seek to achieve numerical targets for marine protected areas, scientists must emphasize the “where” and the “how.” To help achieve the former, we used GIS to overlay ten global maps, quantify the extent to which they overlap, and then conduct a gap analysis to show areas of importance that are not currently protected by MPAs. We also looked at current protected area coverage in terms of size, biogeographic representativeness, no-take status, and exclusive economic zones. 55% of the ocean is identified as important by one or more of the initiatives. Over 14% of the ocean was identified as important by multiple studies, but nearly 90% of this area is currently unprotected. The largest concentrations of important but unprotected areas are in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Coral Triangle, and around Madagascar. We found a lack of biogeographic and political representativeness in the current coverage of MPAs, representing ample opportunity for action based on current information and evidence. This webinar will present study results as well as a new online version of the map available at

Co-sponsors: NOAA National MPA Center and OCTO (MPA News, OpenChannels, EBM Tools Network)