In recent months, several nations have announced plans for significant new MPAs or MPA-related initiatives:

  • At the Our Ocean 2015 conference in October in Chile, the host nation announced its creation of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park, a 297,000-km2 no-take area covering much of the EEZ of the Chilean islands of San Ambrosio and San Felix. Chile also committed to designating an MPA in the 720,000-km2 EEZ around Easter Island, to be preceded by consultation with the island’s indigenous Rapa Nui community.
  • New Zealand has announced plans to designate a 620,000-km2 no-take area in the Kermadec region of the South Pacific Ocean in 2016. The forthcoming MPA — extending from 12 nm to 200 nm from the Kermadec Islands — will complement the existing Kermadec Marine Reserve that extends from the islands’ shores to 12 nm.
  • Palau has passed legislation to designate a 500,000-km2 no-take marine reserve, closing roughly 80% of the nation’s waters to fishing and mining. The closure will be phased in over five years. and
  • The US announced it is moving forward on designating two new national marine sanctuaries — one in the state of Maryland, one in the Great Lakes. Both will protect maritime heritage. Once designated, they will be the first new national marine sanctuaries since 2001. Also, the US and Cuba have announced a partnership to cooperate on conservation and management of MPAs.
  • A vessel that was observed fishing in Kiribati’s no-take Phoenix Islands Protected Area in June 2015 has been fined US $1 million by a Kiribati court. The offending vessel tried to escape but was captured after a four-day chase by Kiribati authorities.