United Nations
Marine Protected Areas in the UK and our Overseas Territories
by United Kingdom (Government)
The UK Government commits strongly to marine conservation and ensuring that UK waters are managed and used in a sustainable way, including by working internationally with our Overseas Territories in order to protect the globally significant biodiversity found in their waters.

Domestically, we have been working hard to deliver a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in UK waters, which currently includes 297 MPAs covering an area of just over 206,000 square kilometers. This MPA coverage represents 23% of UK waters; more than double the 10% target for coastal and marine areas set out in the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi targets. We commit to ensuring that these protected areas are well managed. We recognise the importance of regional seas conventions in achieving this and the UK will continue to support the development of a well-managed ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas within the OSPAR Convention area.

In 2016, a MPA around the Pitcairn Islands was designated, prohibiting commercial fishing across more than ninety-nine percent of the 840,000 square kilometres of ocean surrounding the Islands. At the same time, the Government of St Helena designated its entire 445,000 square kilometre maritime zone as a sustainable use Marine Protected Area, protecting its abundant marine life for the future.
Progress reports
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
September 2016
Marine Protected Area designated around the Pitcairn Islands
September 2016
Marine Protected Area designated around St Helena
Other, please specify
Financial commitment towards the implementation, management, surveillance and enforcement of new UK Overseas Territories Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Basic information
Time-frame: September 2015 - To be confirmed
UK Government (Government), Scottish Government (Government), Welsh Government (Government), Northern Ireland Executive (Government), Government and elected leaders of the UK Overseas Territories (Government)
Ocean Basins
  • North Atlantic
  • South Atlantic
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
John Clorley, Head of MPA Management and International Marine Biodiversity Team, john.clorley@defra.gsi.gov.uk, +44 (0)208 026 6740
Bristol, England
Other SDGs
United Nations