Strengthening East African Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is a two year initiative funded by the United States Department of State (DOS) and implemented by a partnership led by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) and the CRC/URI starting September 12, 2016. The purpose of the project is to create more effectively managed MPAs in East Africa. The overall goal is increased management effectiveness of marine resources at two field sites across three countries linked to larger Western Indian Ocean (WIO) regional networking. The field sites are a cross-border marine area between Kisite, Kenya and Tanga, Tanzania as well as a national site around Southwestern Madagascar. Key field partners are Kenya Wildlife Service, Blue Ventures and Tanzania Marine Parks and Reserves Unit. This project builds off of an existing capacity development program in the WIO region for assessing and certifying MPA professionals – WIO-COMPAS. In this new project, we will be focusing on the needs of locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) and how to strengthen support systems with the national MPA communities.