Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Skip Navigation Linksdefault Home

Skip Navigation LinksIMO / English / Media Centre / In Focus / PSSA

Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA)

Interactive website on PSSAs


A PSSA is an area that needs special protection through action by IMO because of its significance for recognized ecological or socio-economic or scientific reasons and which may be vulnerable to damage by international maritime activities. To date, IMO has designated 14 PSSAs.
A display and website was set up at IMO Headquarters including videos, pictures, maps, and graphic displays, telling the unique story of each of the 14 PSSAs, together with a special insight on IMO’s work on this topic, past, present and future.
The display and website have been funded with the support of generous contributions from Australia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea and Sweden.

The PSSAs designated by IMO to date are:
  • The Great Barrier Reef, Australia (designated a PSSA in 1990)

  • The Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago in Cuba (1997)

  • Malpelo Island, Colombia (2002)

  • The sea around the Florida Keys, United States (2002)

  • The Wadden Sea, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands (2002)

  • Paracas National Reserve, Peru (2003)

  • Western European Waters (2004)

  • Extension of the existing Great Barrier Reef PSSA to include the Torres Strait (proposed by Australia and Papua New Guinea) (2005)

  • Canary Islands, Spain (2005)

  • The Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador (2005)

  • The Baltic Sea area, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden (2005)

  • The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, United States (2007)

  • The Strait of Bonifacio, France and Italy (2011)

  • The Saba Bank, in the North-eastern Caribbean area of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (2012)