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National Marine Protected Areas Center
        Red-footed booby, National Park of American Samoa  Photo: NPS
May 2018
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Dr. Sylvia Earle diving at Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, 2017.
Photo: Bryce Groark

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore 
Photo: Gregory Lloyd

New MPA StoryMap from MPA Center
The MPA Center has published a new StoryMap to highlight the answers to frequently asked questions about U.S. MPAs. Did you know that 26% of US waters are in an MPA (focused on ecosystem/biodiversity protection)? Learn more in a fun, visual format.    
Take a "Virtual Dive" at Palmyra, a "Hope Spot" for the World's Ocean 
Palmyra Atoll, a place so remote it was once proposed as a nuclear waste site, has been named a "Hope Spot" by Mission Blue, a coalition dedicated to creating a global network of marine protected areas that give the world's oceans respite from human impacts and a chance to recover and flourish. "Palmyra's spectacular marine environment is a reminder of what our coral reefs should look like," said Dr. Sylvia Earle, the legendary ocean explorer and marine biologist who founded Mission Blue. "Its remote Pacific location, its history of marine and wildlife recovery, and the level of protection as a marine national monument, make it ideal for scientific study and a beacon of hope for coral reefs everywhere."  Earle was a keynote speaker at the opening session of last week's EarthX Conference in Dallas, Texas, where a new series of 360-degree virtual dives and Virtual Reality video on Palmyra also was revealed.  Produced by The Ocean Agency and Seaview 360 through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy, the virtual dives are now available for all to see on Google Street View Oceans Portal and the 360-degree video on YouTube.     

MPAs Featured in Coast Guard Journal 
The US Coast Guard's journal, Proceedings, featured MPAs in the March 2018 issue. The issue features stories on National Marine Sanctuaries, MPAs in the Arctic, reducing noise pollution, and the ocean planning tool SeaSketch, among others. Proceedings is the voice of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety and Security Council, and its audience is a large segment of the private maritime industry, scientists and NGOs.      
New Data Platform for California's Natural Resources  
California has launched a new open data platform for the long-term curation and public access to all state funded data collection on natural resources, including marine protected areas (MPAs). The system allows for powerful keyword searches, preview capabilities, and easy connection with other existing data repositories. By the end of 2018, the platform will house raw data, technical reports, workshop proceedings, grey literature, and other supporting information.    

In the spirit of interagency coordination and collaboration, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife met in April for the second time to discuss MPA performance evaluation. As the lead managers for their respective state MPAs, the team discussed analytical approaches and report formats for sharing results with stakeholders and decision makers. Stay tuned for more information. Contact:  Stephen.Wertz@wildlife.ca.gov   
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) Supports Adaptive Management in Micronesia

In December, the Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community ( PIMPAC), a long-term capacity development program co-managed by staff from NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program and the Micronesia Conservation Trust, assisted community members in Yap to update their management plan through an adaptive management process. The Nimpal Channel Marine Conservation Area ( NCMCA), located in Yap State, FSM is co-managed by members of the Kaday and Okaw Communities. The area was established in 2010 to maintain the productivity and sustainability of the Okaw and Kaday community fishing grounds.  In December 2017-March 2018 socioeconomic data was collected and analyzed. Of surveyed households within Okaw and Kaday: 100% are aware and supportive of no-take zones, 100% are aware and supportive of no fishing and harvesting in no-take zones and 93% agree or strongly agree NCMCA has helped maintain or improve populations of important food fish and invertebrates within the NCMCA. The socioeconomic data, along with coral reef monitoring data and local knowledge and experience managing the site were integral to the updating of this management plan.   

While conservation-minded leaders around the world are making strides to establish new marine protected areas, the effort to ensure that they are well managed and protected often lags behind. To address this issue, IUCN convened 30 experts from around the world in January in Washington, D.C. to synthesize existing definitions, classifications and IUCN resolutions into simple guidance on what constitutes an MPA for ocean policy makers and managers.  As new MPAs are announced and implemented to meet the global target of 10% coverage by 2020 (under both the Convention for Biological Diversity and the UN Sustainable Development Goals), IUCN recognized a need to bring together disparate guidance it has provided over the years. The MPA guidance produced at last week's workshop summarizes past resolutions approved by IUCN membership, including that no industrial activity (including industrial fishing) should occur in an MPA.  The draft guidance is available here; a final version will be published in late Spring 2018. 

Mark your calendar for June 5-6 for this year's Capitol Hill Oceans
Week, organized by the National   Marine Sanctuaries Foundation. 
Can't be there in per son? Plenary sessions will be webcast. Plus, 
follow the discussion on twitter -- #chow2018  

Click here for more details on the 2018 Capitol Hill Ocean Week.
Webinars from the MPA Center and Partners   
The MPA Center monthly webinar series is co-sponsored by the NOAA National MPA Center, 
MPA News, and the EBM Tools Network (co-coordinated by OCTO and NatureServe) and held 
the second Thursday of each month from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern. The series is focused on building and strengthening MPA networks. 

May 8 
By Sara Hutto of NOAA and Lara Hansen of EcoAdapt

This North American Rapid Vulnerability Assessment Tool helps marine protected area managers evaluate the implications of climate change for the habitats of their sites. The tool was created as part of a project on climate assessment and adaptation by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. It is available in English and Spanish and has three parts (a user guide, a set of blank worksheets, and a booklet containing sample completed worksheets), which used together allow marine protected area managers to conduct a rapid vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategy development process. This webinar will cover: 1) why the tool was created, 2) an overview of the tool (how it works, what it looks like, where to find it), 3) the experience of using the tool, and 4) additional application of the tool. Learn more about the tool here

June 14
By Miles Macmillan-Lawler of GRID-Arendal 

As we move towards the 2020 deadline for countries to fulfill their commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Target 11, now is a good time to take stock and ask the question - are we protecting the right 10% of marine area in our MPAs? Not only does Aichi Target 11 talk about conserving 10% of coastal and marine areas, it specifies the effective conservation of areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services and ecologically representativeness as key goals. So how do we know if we are achieving this? This webinar will outline a framework for assessing the progress of MPAs in achieving these goals and present the Protected Areas Impact Maps Virtual Research Environment on the BlueBRIDGE platform, an open access application which uses this framework to assist countries in assessing their progress against Aichi Target 11 and ensuring that they get the right 10%

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