BO_August29_2016_WEBArtboard 2-100

Member sites are currently all of the 14 established large-scale MPAs world wide. Collectively, these sites represent seven countries and are helping to protect more than 7 million square kilometers of our global ocean (September 2015).

Who We Are

Big Ocean is the only peer-learning network created ‘by managers for managers’ (and managers in the making) of large-scale marine areas. Our focus is management and best practice. Our goal is to support each other and the growing field of large-scale MPAs.

Learn more about our purpose and aims.

How We Began

Recognizing the need to learn from each other, site managers from the world’s largest MPAs met on December 6, 2010 in Honolulu and launched Big Ocean: A Network of the Worlds Large-Scale Marine Managed Areas. Co-convened by the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and World Heritage Site and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area and World Heritage Site under a bi-lateral “sister-site” relationship, this historic, inaugural meeting produced the first ever Managers’ Communiqué on the importance, contributions and needs of large-scale MPAs.

Big Ocean’s members are the large-scale MPA sites, represented by their managers and designated representatives. Members may also invite the participation of non-manager staff from their support network of donors, researchers, NGO partners and others from the private sector.


Managers and partners of Big Ocean’s founding member sites gathered for a historic photo to document the first-ever meeting of managers of the world’s largest MPAs. Photo: Big Ocean

Current Member Sites

In chronological order of their establishment

  1. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (344,000 km2, or 134,363 mi2) and World Heritage Area – Australia. (1975)
  2. Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve––now Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and World Heritage Site (362,074 km2 or 139,797 mi2 – United States. (2000)
  3. Phoenix Islands Protected Area and World Heritage Site (408,250 km2 or 157,585 mi2) – Republic of Kiribati. (2006)
  4. Mariana Trench Marine National Monument (246,609 km2 or 95,216 mi2) – United States. (2009)
  5. British Indian Ocean Marine Protected Area (640,000 km2 or 397,678 mi2) – United Kingdom. (2010)
  6. Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park (150,000 km2 or 57,900 mi2) – Chile. (2010)
  7. Marae Moana, a.k.a. Cook Islands Marine Park (1.065 million km2 or 411,000 mi2) Cook Islands. (2012)
  8. Natural Park of the Coral Sea––le Parc naturel de la mer de Corail (1.3 million km2 or 501,933 mi2) New Caledonia. (2014)
  9. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (1,269,980 million km2 490,343 mi2)
  10. Sites 10-14: Australian Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network with five individual large-scale site (1.7 million km2 or 656,373 mi2)

For information on each site visit our Member Sites page.