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Parlez-Vous MPA? Part Deux

The scenic Brittany coastline, part of the Mer D'Iroise Marine Park in France
The scenic Brittany coastline, part of the Mer D'Iroise Marine Park in France. (Photo: Christophe LeFebvre, L'Agence des aires marines protegees)

Late last year, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries signed a five-year agreement with its French counterpart, L'Agence des aires marines protégées (AAMP), France's marine protected area agency. Late last month, sanctuary staff were privileged to travel to France to continue working with French colleagues and to attend the fifth Global Ocean Forum in Paris.

Sanctuary representatives visited AAMP's headquarters in Brest, met with members of the management council for one of AAMP's first marine protected areas — Mer D'Iroise Marine Park, off the coast of Brittany — and visited several local businesses who work closely with the marine park. While in Brest, sanctuary and AAMP staff outlined continuing projects under the agreement, which include a series of MPA-based exchanges and workshops between National Marine Sanctuary System Pacific Islands Region sites and French Polynesia partners; the development of similar exchanges in the Caribbean; and ongoing partnerships in support of the second Marine Mammal Protected Area Conference and the third International MPA Congress, both of which will be hosted by France in coming years.

Kitesurfing on the Cote D'Opale, near a study area for a new marine park in France.
Kitesurfing on the Cote D'Opale, near a study area for a new marine park in France. (Photo: Elizabeth Moore, National Marine Sanctuary System)
Sanctuary staff then proceeded to Paris for the Global Ocean Forum, making numerous presentations including on “Climate-Smart” MPAs, the sanctuary system's draft climate change adaptation guidance for MPAs. Numerous meetings were also held with Paris-based partners and partners attending the meeting, including UNESCO's World Heritage Program and Underwater Cultural Heritage Program, and the United Nations Environment Programme. Finally, sanctuary staff attended the World Ocean Network's Fourth International Meeting and participated in a series of workshops to help develop a global MPA communication strategy.

AAMP and NMSS colleagues visit the Cote D'Opale, near a study area for a new marine park in France
AAMP and NMSS colleagues visit the Cote D'Opale, near a study area for a new marine park in France (Photo: Elizabeth Moore, National Marine Sanctuary System)
Partnerships with international colleagues and attendance at global MPA meetings are a valuable component of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries' stewardship mandate. Through efforts like these, the sanctuary system helps protect our ocean resources, even when those resources (such as migratory species) leave sanctuary boundaries. It builds management capacity by learning from the experiences of other MPA programs around the world. It learns about innovative new tools and techniques that can be put to work in the sanctuaries. And it shares experience with partners to help build better capacity in their own MPAs, for the good of marine ecosystems worldwide.

For more information, please contact Chief of Staff for International Activities Elizabeth Moore at elizabeth.moore@noaa.gov.

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