Wildlife Conservation Society India

Under various laws and policies discussed in this section, marine species and areas are safeguarded with varying degrees of protection based on their vulnerability and ecological sensitivity. For example, The Wildlife Protection Act categorises Protected Areas (PAs) into four classes: National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Community Reserves and Conservation Reserves (highest to the lowest degree of protection). Similarly, other Indian laws have well-defined categories of PAs and MPAs that complement and exist simultaneously with other laws creating an expansive and inter-connected network of legal mechanisms for protecting sensitive areas and species. Additionally, there are many ecologically significant areas identified by wildlife organisations and marine experts that have the potential for conservation management but currently lack legal protection. These include sites such as Important Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Areas (ICMBAs) and Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs).