Protecting Species and Places
The Protecting Species and Places (PSP) Program was formed by NOAA Fisheries and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to build partnerships in linking and aligning place-based and species-based conservation efforts within U.S. waters and beyond.
NOAA Fisheries and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries share responsibilities to protect and manage marine resources and ensure their conservation through mandates that include but are not limited to:
- National Marine Sanctuaries Act
- Endangered Species Act
- Marine Mammal Protection Act
- Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act
Connecting for Conservation
The purpose of the collaborative Protecting Species and Places (PSP) Program formed by NOAA Fisheries and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is to build partnerships in linking and aligning place-based and species-based conservation efforts within U.S. waters and beyond. Specific goals of PSP are to:
- Improve coordination between marine protected area management plans and species recovery plans to increase protection of species under multiple jurisdictions
- Identify conservation strategies and mechanisms to conserve species and places that fall outside management and recovery plans
- Identify, support, and enhance interagency and international collaboration to conserve marine species and places.
Partners include NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, Office of Habitat Conservation, Restoration Center, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.
Many threatened and endangered species and marine mammals protected under U.S. law and international treaties can be found in National Marine Sanctuaries (map) but also move freely across international borders in our global ocean. To advance conservation of these shared species, NOAA is involved in key international partnerships such as the Cartagena Convention’s Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW), which covers the Wider Caribbean and includes efforts to protect both species and areas.
Protected areas are often more effective when they are connected so that migratory species and species connected by ocean currents can be protected across their geographic range. NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has created sister sanctuary agreements to support these partnerships.
For example, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary partners with marine protected areas in the Dominican Republic, Bermuda, and the French and Netherlands Antilles through sister sanctuary agreements to protect humpback whales as they migrate between their northern feeding grounds and southern breeding grounds. An international citizen science effort (Carib Tails) was also begun in 2014 that encourages boaters to help scientists track the movements of humpback whales between Stellwagen Bank and sister sanctuaries in the Caribbean.