US citizens - just how much of your waters is afforded strong protection?

So my lovely readers living in the USA, just how much of the marine ecosystem in your state waters is afforded strong protection? Probably not that much.

Credit Marine Conservation Institute

Credit Marine Conservation Institute

In this collaboration between the Marine Conservation Institute and Mission Blue, states have been ranked based on what percentage of their waters they strongly protect in 'No Take Zones' or 'Reserves' The best-protected states and territories are Hawaii (22.9% of its state marine waters as a 'No Take'), California (8.74%) and the US Virgin Islands (5.69%).

The report does note that many states offer lower types of protection such as marine protected areas that still allow extraction of fish and other resources within its boundaries.  These haven't been included as 'strong protection' because as the report points out these measures fail to actually offer protection against the most damaging of activities.

You can read an overview and download the full report here

Image:  Dry Tortugas, Florida (NASA, International Space Station Science, 05/29/08).  Credit NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).