Narrissa Spies, a PhD candidate at PBRC’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory, recently traveled to New York to speak about her work on ocean protections. She was invited to participate in a panel of experts to make the case for marine protected areas, as part of a side event in preparation for the upcoming UN Ocean Conference. Her presentation focused on the scientific justification behind marine protected areas (MPAs), inclusion of community and cultural use when establishing MPAs, as well as success stories through her work as an ocean advocate for the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Other experts on the panel included H.E. Ms. Marlene Moses representative from Nauru, H.E. Ms. Ngedikes Olai Uludong representative from Palau, H.E. Mr. Ronny Jumeau representative from Seychelles, Kate Brown from the Global Island Partnership, and Asher Jay from National Geographic Explorer. The panelists spoke on the priorities for establishing MPAs, and how MPA development can be advanced at the upcoming Ocean Conference. The UN Ocean Conference will be held June 5-9 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This high-level meeting will support the goal of conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources. This meeting was sponsored by the Pacific Small Island Developing States, and the Permanent Mission of Palau to the UN.