Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Western Indian Ocean region (2021)

The Nairobi Convention Secretariat has built interactive dashboards for a range of different Western Indian Ocean (WIO) data. The visualizations below showcase the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Western Indian Ocean region and was generated from our Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Outlook that was produced in collaboration with the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) with the financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of Sweden.


To view the country dashboards, please click on the name of the country: Comoros  ,  France , Kenya , Madagascar , Mauritius , Mozambique , Seychelles , South Africa and United Republic of Tanzania

Find out more about the WIO countries biodiversity, ocean economy, ocean governance, data and resources

from the countries profile page



1. For these countries, the MPA areas given include small portions of terrestrial habitat, namely coastal forest, but also farmland and in some cases urban areas.

2. Both Comoros and France include the disputed Mayotte Island and its associated EEZ in their territorial claims.

3. The EEZ boundary between Comoros and Madagascar has not been finally determined, so both countries’ EEZ areas cannot be considered definitive. This extends to the calculations of percentage coverage, which also cannot be considered definitive.

4. Both France and Republic of Mauritius include the disputed Tromelin Island and its associated EEZ in their territorial claim.

5. Some of the more recently proclaimed and smaller MPAs have not been formally demarcated with area not specified.

6. The Republic of Mauritius includes the Chagos Archipelago (some 640 000km² under dispute with the United Kingdom) in the calculation of its EEZ. It does not in its MPA coverage include the Chagos Marine Protected Area proclaimed in 2010 by the UK. The establishment of this MPA was declared illegal, under UNCLOS, by a UN Tribunal in 2015.

7. Includes 400 000 km2 which is jointly managed with the Seychelles.

8. Estimated to be at least this area, but enough to meet the 30% target.

9. This excludes Prince Edward Islands MPA (181 247km²).

10. Tanzania and Zanzibar share the EEZ under the URT. This is only included once in the total.

11. All totals are distorted by the disputed claims over Mayotte and Tromelin (and Chagos) and cannot be considered definitive.

12.  All country total MPA area figures are rounded to the nearest whole number; see country chapters for more details.

13. Seychelles and South Africa official total MPA area figures differ slightly from the sum of the areas of each MPA as presented in the country chapters, being 0.1 % and 0.2 % higher, respectively. These discrepancies are possibly due to inclusion of terrestrial portions that were not included in the present analysis. The discrepancy has an imperceptible influence on the overall percentage of EEZ under protection.

14. TBD: To be determined.

15. Information on marine protected areas in Somalia is unavailable.

16. In certain countries in the WIO region, the EEZ *boundaries have not been agreed upon.

17. Mozambique - As of 31 December 2019, the Maputo Environmental Protection Area ("Área de Protecção Ambiental de Maputo"; Decree 103/2019 of 31 December) came into force (after finalization of this publication). Mozambique now has 3338.16km2 as its new total marine conservation area, which includes the Maputo Special Reserve, Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, Inhaca Island partial reserves and a large portion of the Matutuine district. 2.57% of Mozambique’s EEZ is now under protection, up from 2.04%.

18. Seychelles declared 13 new MPAs on 26th March, 2020 after the finalization of this publication.

19. South Africa - Many MPAs in South Africa were proclaimed under the Sea Fisheries Act (SFA) (1973 and 1988) and its various amendments. All MPAs declared under the SF Act were re-proclaimed en masse in 2000 under the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA). Since 2014, the primary legal instrument for establishment and protection of MPAs has been the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act of 2004. On 2 June, 2014, all MPAs previously declared under MLRA were transferred under presidential pronouncement to NEM:PAA

20. The designations employed and the presentations of material do not imply the expressions of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNEP, Nairobi Convention, or contributory organisations concerning the legal status of any country, territory*, city area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries or the designation of its name, frontiers or boundaries..