New films highlight vital role of North America’s marine protected areas

Series of short films premiered at National Geographic for World Oceans Day focuses on role MPAs play in sustaining communities, protecting marine life

Washington, DC, 8 June 2012—A new series of short films show how North America’s marine protected areas help sustain the economies of communities across Canada, Mexico and the United States while protecting the marine life found in the continent’s shared oceans and lakes. The films were released today to celebrate World Oceans Day.

The films tell short stories that highlight some of North America’s nearly 2,000 marine protected areas and vividly illustrate how they enhance our scientific understanding, provide exciting recreational experiences, help protect a large number of species, restore fisheries and conserve key habitats, and support communities that depend on marine resources.

They are the result of a unique partnership between the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), North America’s marine protected area agencies and a network of 24 aquarium Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers, under the Washington-based Coastal America, in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Four films are now available to watch and share at www.cec.org/mpa:

Protecting marine life: North America’s marine protected areas support an incredible variety of marine life and help restore fisheries.

Discovering the ocean’s secrets: Marine protected areas are living laboratories for scientists to learn about our oceans, so we can all make better decisions about their—and our—future.

Connecting us to nature: Marine protected areas offer beautiful and unique places to explore and enjoy the natural world.

Sustaining communities: Marine protected areas help sustain North America’s economy and its coastal communities.

The films were premiered on June 7 at a special event held at the National Geographic Society with US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Aquarium of the Pacific President and CEO Jerry Schubel, and Sylvia Earle, Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic, among others. The films will also be shown in aquariums, marine protected areas, Ocean Today kiosks and elsewhere starting on June 8.

The CEC and partners will also be participating in a World Oceans Day celebration at the National Museum of Natural History organized by Coastal America, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.