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October 31, 2013

Fifteen hundred representatives from 87 nations came together last week to discuss our absolutely favorite subject:  Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s), or as we call them, Hope Spots. It went down in France with a delicately balanced soup of the relevant stakeholders: Marine Protected Area managers, scientists, politicians, local representatives, concerned civilians, business executives and more.

Getting together and talking is all well and good — but what happened? What were the visions put forward to save our ocean?

On the Mission Blue front, we were ecstatic to announce a new Hope Spot Map with 50 marine areas targeted for increased conservation. Ideally even larger swaths of the ocean would be completely protected starting tomorrow, yet these 50 Hope Spots offer a road map — a game plan — to concentrate conservation efforts in places that are critical to ocean health…critical to the future health of our entire planet, whose chemistry and biology is driven by our Blue Heart.


As a whole, IMPAC 3 made six awesome recommendations regarding Marine Protected Areas on our planet. Summarized, they are as follows.

1) Go Glocal! Sure it’s a buzzword: Global + Local = Glocal. Yet this approach is critical for advancing the MPA agenda. Activities of international governing bodies, national governments, industry groups and conservation groups need to be harmonized with the realities on the ground, in the locales where these MPA’s exist. We can’t preach conservation from shiny offices in major metropolises: lasting conservation begins with getting all stakeholders to put some skin in the game.

2) Engage the private sector in partnerships that promote governance and support spacial planning. Especially on the high seas, governments and private industry need to get on the same page about the most sustainable way to interact with our oceans.

3) The time to create high seas Marine Protected Areas with international status is now! A great start is to adopt the two high seas MPA’s under consideration in the Antarctic Ocean. No longer can the high seas be lawless: we need rules and everyone has to play by them, or ocean destruction will continue to spiral out of control.

4) Approach these problems on the regional level: it’s the appropriate scale to produce actionable, effective governance. Break the problem down into pieces and solve them. Then put the puzzle together for effective global ocean conservation.

5) Stop a fragmented financing approach and consolidate resources to make a larger impact. Think about a megatrust for the entire Mediterranean! Think how many stakeholders would have real incentive to contribute to it. Think what a difference it could make if we unified in this way. Why not?

6) Beyond its physical manifestation, the ocean also represents an important cultural, philosophical and spiritual touchstone for humanity. As we move forward with conservation, these immaterial element must remain relevant in the dialogue.

For the full results of IMPAC 3, click here

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