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Maritime Forum

Map of the Week – Marine Protected Areas

The Map of the Week shows the ratio of Marine Protected Area to terrestrial area for each European country.


On 30 November and 1 December 2021, high-level policy makers and business leaders gathered at the European Business & Nature Summit to scale up business action for nature ahead of the crucial United Nations Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15) in the spring of 2022. [1] The aim of the event - organised by the European Union (EU) Business@Biodiversity Platform of the European Commission and other partners - was to mobilise the business community and strengthen the European "Business for Biodiversity movement" called upon by the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. The European Business statement officially delivered to the European Commission on 1 December 2021 calls: [2]

  1. on European businesses to scale up action, ambition and innovative collaboration on biodiversity;
  2. on the European Union to integrate biodiversity as strongly as climate into the Green Deal and recovery plans, to actively work towards the adoption of a transformative Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at CBD COP15, China, and to mainstream biodiversity in all European and national policies and decision-making.

As part of the second point, the statement refers notably to the objective of ensuring the protection of 30% of EU land and sea areas by 2030.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have an important role to play in this regard. MPAs have been set up across the world’s oceans to protect vulnerable species and ecosystems, to conserve biodiversity and minimise extinction risk, to re-establish ecosystem integrity, to segregate uses to avoid user conflicts, and to enhance the productivity of fish and marine invertebrate populations. They provide a public focus for marine conservation and are commonly used around the world as management tools to promote the sustainable use of marine resources. Many MPAs also serve as living laboratories – critical to scientific research and discoveries that benefit humanity. When effectively managed, MPAs support the blue economy by helping to sustain fish stocks and bolstering tourism.

Explore the Map of the Week to learn more about Marine Protected Areas. Click on the countries to discover how the ratio of Marine Protected Area to terrestrial area for each European country has evolved over the past years.

Access the map

The data in this map are provided by Eurostat.