Marine Protected Area Network

This project seeks to improve the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas in India and help identify and designate new places for protection.

Why are MPAs important?

They create Protected spaces for species to not only survive but thrive and where important data on species and populations can be collected. This data allows for scientifically informed policy recommendations. They help stabilise and rebuild diminishing fisheries that coastal communities depend on. A healthy ocean translates into a healthy world.

We brought WCS-India and the Marine Conservation Institute together to improve on and create Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) across India. Together they are identifying Blue Sparks with all the ingredients for impactful conservation.

India has a 7517 km coastline, of which very little is currently protected. There are 134 designated MPAs, the majority of which are in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. None of these MPAs have active or effective management plans. WCS-India has already identified several areas that meet the right scientific specifications for impactful conservation if they are protected as MPAs. Angria Bank, which WCS-India has been working to protect, is the largest reef system in India and has already been given approval for protection by the Maharashtra Government. It just needs final approval by the central government to become an MPA.

The main goals of this project are:

1) Build awareness around the current status of Marine Protection Efforts in India

Educate the general public and people in positions of influence on the need for greater Marine Protection Efforts in India.

2) Create Effective Management Plans for Existing MPAs

Help Strengthen pre-existing MPAs by taking MCI’s advice on what an effective management plan should include.

3) Create new MPAs across mainland India 

Identify biodiverse-rich places that deserve our protection and convince the Indian Government and local communities to seek MPA designation for the same.

Key Achievements

  • MoU signed with both partners.

  • Evaluated Angria Banks as an MPA and reviewed existing MPAs in India to bring them under the Blue Sparks program by MCI.

Current status: Currently on hold

International Partner: Marine Conservation Institute

National Partner: Wildlife Conservation Society

Year: 2021

Area of work: Environment, Marine