How do we gather and review data for Navigator?

For each country….

  1. We conduct an exhaustive search of publicly available documents, websites, digital maps and other sources to generate an initial inventory of managed areas. We also make direct contact with management authorities to request information.

  2. To determine whether an area is suitable to be included in Navigator, we thoroughly investigate this area to see if it falls within our criteria for the types of areas we include. We only include areas with verifiable, legally implemented protections and boundaries in Navigator. For more details see here.

  3. As of April 2023, we’ve reviewed 35,000 sites, and found laws for about 24,000.

  4. Our attorneys, who specialize in ocean law, review and summarize each area’s regulations, management plans, and other legal instruments associated with each specific area. As part of this review, individual fishing gear types and human activities are coded as allowed, restricted, or prohibited. Focal species, where specified, are also noted. See our Data Attributes page for the complete list of what we capture.

  5. For countries with official languages other than English, Navigator includes regulation summaries translated into the official languages in addition to English. Translations are made with a combination of online tools and native speakers as needed.

  6. Our GIS team reviews boundary data from official sources and matches it to the managed areas. Where electronic boundaries are not available or cannot be verified, they digitize the boundary using the legal description and indicate the boundary source in the data.

  7. For each area, we assign a Level of Fishing Protection (LFP) score based on a 1-5 scale using a Decision Tree to ensure comparable scoring for every protected area in the world. When area statistics are reported, the highest LFP score among overlapping areas is used unless otherwise noted.


Level of Fishing Protection

ProtectedSeas assigns a Level of Fishing Protection (LFP) score to each area coded on a 1-5 scale, with higher scores indicating more restrictions and more protection. When clicking on any single point of the ocean, Navigator displays the maximum LFP score of all the areas at that point.

How LFP scores are assigned


How Does Navigator Estimate Progress Towards 30×30 By Country?

Researchers have projected that a million plants and animals are at risk of extinction, many within decades. The last extinction event of that magnitude was the one that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. On Dec. 19th 2022 at the UN Biodiversity conference in Montreal, 190 countries signed up to the goal of designating 30% of Earth’s land and ocean area as protected areas by 2030.*

ProtectedSeas estimates the share of oceans that are “Highly Protected” from marine life extraction from a legal standpoint by calculating the percentage of any ocean area scored as Heavily and Most restrictive on our LFP scale above. 

  1. We calculate “Highly Protected” in a region by first calculating the marine area covered by each LFP protection level present in that region. The highest LFP level found across any overlapping individual protected areas is used as the overall status for the overlapping area.

  2. Next, we divide the marine area for each LFP level by the total country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) area as claimed by that country and as recorded in the Flanders Institute Marine Regions database.

  3. Then, we add the percentage of Heavily Restrictive and Most Restrictive LFP levels together to estimate “Highly Protected” areas from a legal standpoint.

i.e. Highly Protected Legally = Heavily Restricted + Most Restricted


See here.

Explore in-place marine protections for over 220 countries and territories.

Navigator is the most comprehensive database of marine life protections and their boundaries available. Navigator is 100% free and it’s open to the public. Users can explore Navigator’s interactive map of regulatory information for marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine managed areas (MMAs).