If you like the Google Earth mapping application, there's now an application that works with it and provides information on "Marine Protected Areas" on the Earth.

Installing the application shows all the various marine protected areas (MPAs); clicking on them provides some information, including a link to more detailed information.

Depending on the MPA, users may be able to see photos and video as well.

Around 4,500 spots scattered around the world's oceans have been designated as marine protected areas, which means activities such as commercial or recreational fishing are restricted or banned to protect dwindling stocks of fish and other marine species, according to Google, which developed the software along with the World Commission on Protected Areas and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a grouping of more than 1,000 government and nongovernment organizations and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries.

The application was demonstrated at at IUCN conference earlier this month.