Member Sites

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Big Ocean has 17 member sites representing 10 countries. Collectively, these large-scale MPAs cover nearly 11 million square kilometers of ocean. The sites range from the 146,000-km2 Argo-Rowley Terrace Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Australia) to the 1.9 million-km2 Marae Moana marine park in the Cook Islands.

Our current member sites are listed below. To learn about each site, and view image galleries, click on the site name.

  1. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Australia)

  2. Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and World Heritage Site (USA)

  3. Phoenix Islands Protected Area and World Heritage Site (Republic of Kiribati)

  4. Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (USA)

  5. British Indian Ocean Marine Protected Area (United Kingdom)

  6. Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park (Chile)

  7. Marae Moana–Cook Islands Marine Park (Cook Islands)

  8. Le parc naturel de la mer de Corail–Natural Park of the Coral Sea (New Caledonia / France)

  9. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (USA)

  10. Australia CommonArgo-Rowley Terrace Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Australia)

  11. Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Australia)

  12. Macquarie Island Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Australia)

  13. Norfolk Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Australia)

  14. South-west Corner Commonwealth Marine Reserve (Australia)

  15. Palau National Marine Sanctuary (Palau)

  16. Parque Marino Nazca-Desventuradas (Chile)

  17. Te Tai Nui A Hau (Marquesas, French Polynesia)


Large-Scale MPA Task Force


Technical Expertise

The creation of the IUCN Large Scale MPA Task Force (LSMPATF) was formally announced at the 3rd International Marine Protected Area Congress held in Marseille, France in 2013. Created by IUCN’s WCPA-Marine section in partnership with Big Ocean the LSMPATF was created to respond to the global call for increasing the coastal and marine areas under effective protection (e.g. Aichi Target 11) by sharing the experiences and knowledge regarding the design, planning and management of large-scale MPAs within the IUCN community of professionals. The Task Force further aims to support existing, peer-to-peer networks outside of IUCN that are focused on sharing information and increasing knowledge on how to effectively manage large-scale MPAs (e.g., Big Ocean, High Seas Alliance).  This may include supporting the ability of such outside, peer-to-peer networks to engage with and receive the support of the WCPA-Marine and wider IUCN community of professionals.


  • To serve as a community of practice within IUCN that speaks directly from the global trend of declaring, designing, planning and managing large-scale MPAs. This community of practice will establish mechanisms by which information and tools can be disseminated within IUCN regarding large-scale MPA

  • To support efforts to collect, document, and share the growing body of management and policy experience, law, and scientific and cultural knowledge that will guide future large-scale MPA practices.

  • To communicate and promote the application of clear and practical management guidance on the design, planning and implementation of large-scale MPAs within IUCN. Such clear and practical guidance includes written publications and online materials produced by IUCN/WCPA-Marine.

Task Force products and activities will likely include: publications, guidelines, best-practice guidance (e.g., Guidelines for the Design and Management of Large-Scale MPAs forthcoming in 2015); provision of a community of practice voice on large-scale MPA management within WCPA-Marine/IUCN; outreach (conference presentations, workshops, website, social networks); application of new technologies where applicable and appropriate (e.g., Google tools); provision of information on activities to WCPA – Marine and to SSC, and for protected area news in and outside of IUCN, as appropriate, on a regular basis; supporting pursuance of WCPA, SSC and IUCN goals where appropriate; and supporting the development of initiatives with lead partner Big Ocean. 


Co-Chair: ʻAulani Wilhelm (

Deputy Chair: Jon Day (

Complete Member List



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Our Champions

In addition to the contributions of member sites, ongoing coordination and administration of Big Ocean is made possible through the generous support from these longstanding partners: Conservation International and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


As Big Ocean remains the only peer-learning network dedicated to improving the design and on-the-ground management of Large-Scale MPAs, the network is seeking additional resources and support in order to develop and implement research projects and capacity building activities for the long-term. The support being sought is to benefit the collective, to leverage and maximize the impacts across one or more member sites, and to enhance and further professionalize this growing field of marine conservation.

Becoming Sustainable

Big Ocean is in the process of refining a three-year budget focused initially on capacity building, planning and research. As these activities will require outside support to be developed and successfully implemented, organizations and individuals interested in learning more or becoming a sponsoring partner, should contact us.