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More than 1200 people from over 70 countries gathered in May in Washington, DC, at the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) and Second International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC2). The joint meeting provided a broad range of news and viewpoints from researchers, managers, government officials, NGOs, and commercial interests. Travel grants provided by the conference organizers supported 24 individuals from 22 countries.

MPA News attended the joint meeting and will feature selected findings in this and next month's edition:

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The April 2009 edition of MPA News featured an article on the role of MPAs in ecosystem-based management (EBM). We invited readers to participate in an online poll on the subject, with the goal of measuring attitudes on the relationship between these management measures. MPA News conducted an identical poll in 2006 (MPA News 8:6).

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The long-term viability of a protected area depends on public support for it. Without broad-based backing of its goals, the protected area will have trouble meeting those goals. Building a base of support, whether from specific stakeholder groups or the community at large, requires MPA practitioners to be able to communicate effectively with their audiences. This involves not only what the practitioners say but how they say it, and especially how they involve the community in a dialogue.

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The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has proposed a plan to provide financial compensation to bottomfish and lobster-fishery permit holders affected by the designation of the 362,000-km2 Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. All commercial fishing in the MPA, located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, will officially end in 2011. By buying up permits from existing permit-holders, the compensation plan would essentially speed up that phaseout of fishing. Former President George W.

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In March, a new Web-based tool to raise funds for Fijian MPAs was launched, enabling people to pay online to "adopt" corals, reefs, and mangroves in the Pacific island nation. The NGO behind it - Sustainable Fijian Reef Resources, or Sasalu Tawamudu in the Fijian language - was founded by faculty members of the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and the Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S. The organization's goal is to help conserve Fiji's reefs and forests while promoting sustainable development in local Fijian communities.

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The concept of ecosystem-based management of our oceans involves applying a holistic approach to resource management rather than focusing on a single species or sector. The basic idea is that because the elements of an ecosystem are interconnected - including species, habitats, and humans - it makes sense to attempt to manage them as a whole rather than as a series of unrelated elements.

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Editor's note: Within Canada, three federal authorities each have a mandate to designate and manage marine protected areas: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Parks Canada Agency, and Environment Canada. The following essay, written collaboratively for MPA News by MPA experts in the above authorities, outlines how they are working together to integrate their MPA planning to achieve efficiencies and maximize conservation benefits.

By the Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy Working Group

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Editor's note: Soledad Luna is Director of the Instituto Nazca de Investigaciones Marina, an Ecuadorian NGO. Patricia Zurita is Senior Director of the Conservation Steward Program at Conservation International. Tannya Lozada is the Undersecretary of Natural Capital at the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment. Manfred Altamirano is the Undersecretary of Coastal Environmental Management at the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment. Luis Suárez is the Executive Director of Conservation International Ecuador.

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