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Much of what we learn – in the MPA field and in life in general – is not from formal education. It comes from learning it ourselves, or receiving advice from a colleague, or simply trial and error. This kind of knowledge is often difficult to find anywhere else.

In the 18 years that MPA News has been in publication, we have asked practitioners for lessons learned, and practices developed. We have published numerous tips on how to work more efficiently or effectively. But we have not asked you for the most fundamental, essential advice you have gained from your work.

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By Jon Day

When I started my undergraduate university course in the early 1970s, my interests were the natural sciences. I didn’t really know what career I wanted, other than I was keen to work outdoors, so a degree around conservation sounded interesting. 

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In October 2017, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) fell short again of reaching consensus on a proposal to designate a large new system of MPAs off the coast of East Antarctica. But objections to the plan are narrowing.

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In the rural municipality of Mangagoulack in southern Senegal, uncontrolled fishing and other ecosystem exploitation depleted the area’s biodiversity and the livelihoods that depended on it. By the year 2000, food quality and food security were low for Mangagoulack’s eight villages. Governance by national and regional officials was inadequate.

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Contest: “Most Beautiful MPA Office in the World”

Some MPA managers, planners, and conservationists work in relatively plain office buildings. But others work in beachfront villas, or on-the-water ranger stations, or in an actual royal castle (as WWF Sweden does). Do you work in a beautiful office? If so, please send us a photo! We will print entries in MPA News and invite readers to vote in a future issue. The winner will be named “Most Beautiful MPA Office in the World” and receive a limited edition MPA News tote bag.

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In Chile in September at the Fourth International MPA Congress, there was a side event on satellite-based surveillance of illegal fisheries. It was unique in that there were several Chilean naval officers in uniform in the audience. And the first speaker offered what was perhaps the most memorable line of the conference: “Are we at a point where we may finally put the ‘P’ in MPA?”

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New ideas on how the social sciences could change ocean conservation

The current issue of Marine Ecosystems and Management, the sister newsletter of MPA News, features an article titled “New ideas on how the social sciences could change the way we do ocean conservation and management – and already are”. The article highlights ideas from 17 social science and interdisciplinary researchers worldwide.

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