Purpose & Aims

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.
  • Our purpose is to develop and enhance the professional standards of practice, and long-term, effective management of large-scale marine areas.

Researchers head out in the waters off the remote Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park for the area’s very first scientific assessment. Photo Credit: Dr. Carlos Gaymer

Our Aims are straight forward

  • Provide a forum for communication and networking through which managers of large-scale MPAs can improve their management efforts.
  • Understand the unique social, cultural and ecological values of large-scale MPAs.
  • Contribute to the protection of our world’s oceans by working together and sharing resources, as well as supporting effective management and sound scientific research.
  • Communicate the conclusions and findings of the network’s efforts.

Building upon the vision of founding member sites


Dr. Randall Kosaki from member site Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument speaks to a global audience via the internet, during a Word Parks Congress 2014 Google + Hangout.

The network’s current purpose and aims have been developed from an initial framework developed by founding member sites, which at the first meeting identified LEARNING (to share information and experience), KNOWLEDGE (to analyze large-scale MPAs in order to increase the conservation community’s knowledge and understanding of this unique genre of MPA); and COMMUNICATION (to enable managers, management teams, and supporting partners to share learning, knowledge, and progress with each other and the outside world) to be core needs of managers of large-scale MPAs.

As Big Ocean works to achieve its aims, member sites also seek to highlight the benefits of this unique genre of marine protection–they are:

  • Increase of marine protection
  • Protect whole ecosystems and across seascapes and ocean corridors for migratory species
  • Improve understanding of ocean systems
  • Serve as sentinel sites to measure environmental and climate change
  • Compliment smaller scale MPAs
  • Protect remote marine areas less understood but are representative of the majority of the world’s oceans
  • Protect and perpetuate cultural heritage and traditions inclusive of indigenous peoples, local communities, scientists and educators
  • Enable conservation along with sustainable use in protection of both natural and cultural heritage
  • Hold the best potential to restore and rejuvenate ocean health at a large scale

Members of Big Ocean have also identified the following shared priority management opportunities that are key to the network achieving its aims.

  • Documentation of benefits
  • Share costs of scientific exploration
  • Learning between neighboring sites
  • Framing the issues and needs with the public
  • Scaling up marine protection coverage
  • Supportive NGO partnerships
  • Provide informed guidance
  • Work with regional fisheries
  • Invite broader stakeholders