Marine Sanctuaries Run by NOAA & Nat. Marine Sanctuary Foundation Plus Intl. Examples

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association’s Marine Sanctuaries program has been extremely successful and that is why Danny Quintana, founder of the Global High Seas Marine Preserve, a non-profit dedicated to saving the oceans and marine life, used it as a model for his highly ambitious enterprise. Below are also examples from around the world which serve as proof that establishing a total ban on industrial and destructive harvesting of marine life, a primary goal of the GHSMP, will work to save the large-top-of-the-food-chain marine predators which currently face extinction.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, was created to assist the federally managed National Marine Sanctuary Program with education and outreach programs designed to preserve, protect and promote meaningful opportunities for public interaction with the nation’s marine sanctuaries. 

Click Here to see the page on this site with screen shots and links to each NMSF official marine sanctuary website, it is an impressive lineup. 

Engineers of Eden: Creating Marine Sanctuaries in Greece
Pierre-Yves Cousteau at TEDxAcademy

United States National Marine Sanctuaries administered by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.National Marine Sanctuaries provide unique and powerful recognition for places of national significance set aside for their special biological, ecological, cultural, or historical values. They serve to focus our efforts in addressing the myriad of complex challenges facing our ocean.

Sanctuaries serve many important roles in ocean conservation: they serve as sentinel sites for resource monitoring and protection; they serve as living laboratories and hands-on classrooms for research and outreach; and they serve as models for connecting stakeholders and partners through cooperative co-management and compatible uses to reduce the harmful impacts of that usage.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation was created to support and strengthen the national system of marine sanctuaries and plays a vital role in connecting the American public to the ocean through these special places. NMSF works diligently to increase federal resources for national marine sanctuaries and to focus attention on key pieces of legislation affecting sanctuaries, including the long overdue re-authorization of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.

Through sanctuaries, NMSF seeks to promote sound ocean policies that improve resource protection, strengthen scientific understanding, forge partnerships, and enhance ocean governance. Through our efforts, national leaders become better equipped to make informed and coordinated decisions that can improve the overall health and sustainability of the ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems now and for the future.

 Difference between National Marine Sanctuaries
& Marine National Monuments

National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments in our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes are used to conserve and protect areas of national significance, including both natural and cultural resources. While they work toward similar goals, they do so in different ways…Read More with Side-by-Side Comparison.

Whale Protected Areas Tour with French Government
and the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Marine Sanctuaries Around the World

Very Large Protected Marine Sanctuaries Around the World
produced by of Marine Conservation Institute
Click to Enlarge

Enlargeable map of Very Large Marine Protected Areas all over the world.

Palau Creates World’s Largest Marine Sanctuary
Graphic Courtesy of Palau & Article from EcoWatch

Palau National Marine Sanctuary, the first declared national shark sanctuary in the world with 136 sharks species living in or migrating through the island nation. Earthjustice applauds the creation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, signed into law today by President Tommy Remengesau, establishing one of the world’s largest marine protected areas.

“This bold action to protect the full sweep of the country’s valuable ocean resources affirms that Palau is a world leader in marine conservation,” said Drew Caputo, Earthjustice vice president of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife and Oceans. “No other country has done more.”

–The law designates 80 percent of the nation’s exclusive economic zone—an area bigger than the state of California—as a no-take marine reserve, and the remaining 20 percent as a managed domestic fishing zone for local fishers to supply the national market and ensure food security for Palau now and into the future.

Shark Finning is responsible for prompting the island nation of Palau to declare the first national shark sanctuary in the world.Palau’s marine ecosystems are some of the most diverse on Earth, home to more than 700 species of coral and 1,300 species of fish. Globally, oceans are threatened by over-fishing, pollution, warming and acidification. Large, no-take marine reserves are crucial to efforts to build marine resilience to climate change by allowing fish stocks to rebound and reducing by-catch of species that are critical to ocean health.

Earthjustice was privileged to provide legal support to the government of Palau, advising on the legal requirements under ocean treaties and fisheries access agreements to which Palau is a party, and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act.

Tuna 003 56k“The sanctuary is a major contribution to healthy oceans and reef systems that are more resilient to climate change, both for the people of Palau and for the world,” said Earthjustice international program attorney, Erika Rosenthal. “Ocean biomass conservation—through fisheries conservation and management and marine protected areas—is critical to maintaining the ocean’s function as an effective carbon sink.”

The precedent-setting Palau marine protected area shows that small island states, often called large ocean nations, can be global conservation leaders, and make major contribution to the international targets for marine protected areas established under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Support for the sanctuary was strong across the island from governors to traditional leaders to thousands of Palauans who demonstrated and signed petitions. Palau has long been a leader in ocean conservation. The nation established the first shark sanctuary in the region in 2001 and was a leader in the Micronesia Challenge, designating a near-shore network of protected areas starting in 2003.

Tribute to Sharks & Marine Life of Palau in HD

Australia’s Marine Protected Area Network
Links to Each Australian Marine Sanctuary at bottom of page

Australia has created the world’s largest network of Marine Protected Areas. In 2012, Australia established a National Representative Network of Marine Protected Areas, to provide a safe-haven for marine life in the seas surrounding the continent (1).

Australia network map of marine sanctuaries all around the country, really a fantastic collection of marine life.

The network covers 1/3 of Australian waters. This area of ocean is being managed primarily for biodiversity conservation, whilst aiming to minimise both social and economic impacts. Similarly to the UK, the area has been divided into regional projects.

The Coral Sea is protected by a large no-take marine reserve. A high level of protection has been awarded to the Coral Sea because it is a remote ocean ecosystem with significant physical, ecological and heritage values. The region supports important habitats for a range of species including humpback whales, green turtles, white sharks, whale sharks and tuna. The East Australian Current also forms here, which is a major pathway for mobile predators, and many historic shipwrecks add heritage values, including three WWII shipwrecks from the Battle of the Coral Sea (2).

grey-nurse-shark-australiaAdjacent to the Coral Sea in the Temperate East, the network covers important habitats for the critically endangered east coast population of grey nurse sharks. In this region, the network provides protection for the offshore reef habitats at Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs; Lord Howe Island; and Norfolk Island, which supports the threatened black cod (3).

Coral Reef in Australia. In the South East, the representative network aims to maintain viable populations of endemic species and enable evolutionary processes to continue. This is a key aspect of the network, because within the region, 85% of fish and 62% of seafloor fauna are endemic to the area (4).

In the South West, 90% of the regions’ species can’t be found anywhere else on earth! The network of protected areas also secures important breeding and feeding sites, including seasonal calving habitats for the threated southern right whale and foraging habitats for the threatened white shark, blue whale and soft-plumaged petrel (5).

Whale Shark at the Ningaloo Reef, Australia, one of the successful marine sanctuaries around the world.

The network is designed to protect key life stages and habitats in the North West region. Protected areas have been located to coincide with important seasonal calving habitats for the world’s largest population of humpback whales. They will also protect key foraging habitats for whale sharks, sea snakes and a variety of marine turtles, including the loggerhead and hawksbill turtle (6).

Foraging and nesting sites are protected in the North region.Important foraging areas for large aggregations of dugongs are included in the network, as well as important nesting areas for threatened marine turtles, such as green and olive Ridley turtles (7).

Over 30% of the network is no-take. The network is made up of a mosaic of different types of marine protected area. Those areas designated as National Marine Park Zones or Marine Sanctuaries are all strictly no-take and fishing is prohibited within their boundaries.

The network was designed to minimize impacts to fisheries. Over 90% of Australian waters within 100 km of the shore remain open to recreational fishing and less than 1% of the commercial fishing industry will be affected, with $100 million pledged from the federal government to assist the fishing businesses (8).

Links to Australian Marine Reserve Websites

Australian Government. Temperate East Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Available at 

Australian Government. Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Available at 

Australian Government. Common Wealth Marine Reserves. Available at

Australian Government. South East Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Available at 

Australian Government. South West Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Available at 

Australian Government. North West Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Available at 

Australian Government. North Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Available at

Project Aware. Marine Parks and Sharks. Available at