Our projects

BLUEprint for Marine Protected Areas

Establishing and managing Marine Protected Areas that deliver effective protection for nature, fisheries and sustainable communities.

Blue Marine’s mission is to see at least 30 per cent of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030 as defined by global scientists, in order to safeguard biodiversity and build ocean resilience to climate change 

Securing Marine Protected Areas* (MPAs) – specified areas of ocean where fishing and other extractive activities are restricted or regulated – and ensuring they are effectively managed rather than just paper parks and developing models of sustainable fishing are key to this crucial mission.   

Only ~8.1 per cent of the global ocean is currently under some level of protection and only 2.1 per cent of the world’s oceans are fully protected. 

Over the past decade Blue Marine has worked at home and across the globe to support the establishment and effective management of MPAs that protect species, habitats, cultural heritage and ecosystems. These MPAs help provide climate change resilience, allow stocks to recover from overfishing and in many cases support sustainable fisheries in tandem with biodiversity protection.  

In 2010, Blue Marine was instrumental in the establishment of the largest MPA around Chagos in the Indian Ocean. Over the next ten years along with a multitude of partners, including the Great British Oceans Coalition, we helped establish MPAs at home and overseas, including securing UK Government commitment to protect over 4 million square kilometres around the Overseas Territories. 

Our current programme and achievements towards the 30 x 30 vision include: 

  • Supporting establishment of new MPAs through collaborative working with national, regional and local governments and communities – six new MPAs designated in the Maldives (2021); a fully protected area around Ascension Island (2019); the first MPA in the Caspian Sea (2018) 
  • Calling for a ban on bottom towed fishing in all MPAs – securing a ban in four offshore MPAs in UK waters including the Dogger Bank SAC following threat of legal action (2021)
  • Calling for a network of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in UK waters where currently only 0.0025 per cent is fully protected from all forms of fishing and extractive activities 
  • Assessing the actual level of protection afforded to biodiversity within designated MPAs in the UK and Overseas Territories based on the MPA Guide Framework* 
  • Scaling up our impact by sharing our learning and experience in establishing and collaboratively managing MPAs – BLUEPrint for MPAs.

BLUEprint for MPAs

Blue Marine has worked with governments and local stakeholders across locations in the UK, Mediterranean, UK Overseas Territories and internationally, to develop collaborative and sustainable approaches to designation and management of MPAs.  Creating and managing MPAs is a complex process, with every situation and location different. From developing a model of sustainable fishing in the Lyme Bay marine reserve on the south coast of England, to delivering an endowment fund to support a fully no-take large MPA in Ascension, Blue Marine has experienced many challenges and successes. 

These experiences shaped the Blue Marine BLUEprint for MPAs, which provides a framework of questions and a toolkit of ideas for anyone starting out, or part way along, the journey of establishing and managing MPAs that deliver effective protection for biodiversity and sustainable communities. 

The BLUEprint for MPAs sets out the steps under four key themes: Information, People, Economics and Management, from the concept stage (before), through active management (during), to review (after designation and during ongoing management). Four key elements apply in almost all situations: gathering robust Information and data; effectively engaging the People intrinsically linked to and dependent on the area; establishing sustainable Economic and Finance models to support ongoing management; and collaboratively developing appropriate Management measures to ensure long-term success. 

Alongside the BLUEprint for MPAs examples of successful initiatives and lessons learned are provided in detailed Case studies from Blue Marine’s projects including: 

UK MPA project case studies: 

Overseas MPA project case studies: 

Collated topic case studies: 


*MPAs can be defined by four levels of protection according to the MPA Guide Framework published in 2021: fully, highly, lightly or minimally protected, with fully protected MPAs being complete no-take zones, where all types of fishing and other destructive activities are prohibited and there are strict regulations on other human non-extractive activities.

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By working together, we can turn the tide on overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity. By supporting Blue Marine, you can help to create marine reserves around the world.


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