Marine Protected Areas: Working Together

humpback whales swimming together

Many migratory marine species, like humpback whales, don’t remain within sanctuary boundaries while traveling the world. Sister sanctuary relationships seek to protect these species by fostering cooperation among marine protected areas. Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, for example, has sister sanctuary agreements with the Dominican Republic, the French Antilles and Bermuda, which help protect and manage whale populations while also enabling these marine protected areas to coordinate research and education.

Photo: Jodi Frediani

Shipwreck off the coast of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The U.S. has hundreds of marine and coastal protected areas, including national marine sanctuaries, national parks, national wildlife refuges and national estuarine research reserves. Together, these marine protected areas conserve biodiversity, ecosystems, cultural heritage and fisheries and are part of a worldwide network. Our waters and marine resources across the globe are connected, and managing our most important places requires close collaboration. The National Marine Protected Areas Center connects and strengthens marine protected areas across the country and around the world.

Photo (Shipwreck off the coast of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore): Mark Lindsey/NPS