Navionics Detailed Charts Provide Marine Protected Areas18 July 2016Category:Marine Protected AreasMPAsMLPANavionics MPAsManatee protected areasFloridaFlorida ocean restrictionsManatee restrictionsCalifornia Department of Fish and WildlifeMarine Life Protection ActNational Representative Network of Marine Protected Areas
Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs, are areas of the oceans or Great Lakes that are protected for conservation purposes. Navionics has offered Marine Protected Area data since we began to offer cartography, however, we are proud to report that we have revamped our MPA system to quickly reflect the most current changes of these restricted areas. By giving more in depth descriptions, awareness and safety are heavily increased.
The government has implemented MPAs throughout our oceans to preserve and maintain marine life, allowing them to grow, stay healthy and eventually flourish and thrive in their environments.
Marine Protected Areas are classified by different factors; conservation, level of protection, permanence of protection, constancy of protection and ecological scale of protection. Restrictions vary depending on the reservation importance; 3% of US waters are considered “no take” areas – where you must do just that: take nothing.
A perfect example of MPAs are the restricted areas around Florida protecting the manatee life. The manatee is a mammal that gets extremely stressed by the cold weather which is why they migrate to the warmer waters of Florida. In 2002, it was recorded that 95 manatee deaths were caused by boating collisions. Violators of the Manatee Protected Zone rules can be fined up to $500 and may even spend a maximum of 60 days in jail.
The rules in place for Manatee Protected Zones are as follows:
1. Remain at the speed posted (most likely no wake zone)
2. Look but do not touch
3. Do not feed
4. Do not chase
5. Give manatees space to move
6. Do not attempt to separate manatees
7. Avoid excessive noise and splashing near manatees
Throughout the years, actions have been taken to ensure MPAs have been properly enforced, such as the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999 in California. This act was implemented to redesign the state’s Marine Protected Areas by clearly defining and managing MPAs. As a result of this act, the MLPA Initiative was created and the state was split into five distinct regions so the MPA planning process is broken down and easier to maintain. Navionics' California dataset now incorporates California Department of Fish and Wildlife's recent boundary and attribute updates to their MPAs.
Another example of an area with an effective Marine Protected Area program is Australia. Australia has the largest network of MPAs in the world. The National Representative Network of Marine Protected Areas was created to ensure the safety of marine life around the entire continent. Australia is surrounded by no-take zones and sanctuaries for endangered animals such as nurse sharks.
It is important to stay informed about MPAs because you do not want to accidentally harm the marine life which inhabit an area and you want to avoid any and all fines that come with violating the rules of restricted areas. MPAs are labeled and represented by a dotted line on our maps. You can see a full description of the MPAs shown on our cartography by clicking on the question mark shown on the maps. Navionics is pleased to provide boaters with the knowledge and security restriction awareness MPAs provide!