Marine protected areas (MPAs) are essential to conserve marine biodiversity. Most nations have agreed to protect ≥10% of coastal zones by 2020 and scientists recommend 30% protection by 2030. However, there are significant shortfalls in management effectiveness, and MPAs continue to be threatened due to local and global stressors. The Science for Active Management (SAM) Program works with government agencies to develop adaptive management frameworks that incorporate scientific data into decision making. SAM (1) guides staff in translating broad agency goals into measurable objectives, (2) engages staff and stakeholders in MPA monitoring and data review, and (3) provides a co-developed framework to use data to inform and evaluate management actions. Managers and stakeholders think through what information is needed for evaluation, and researchers learn about management needs.