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Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

of Waitt Institute

www.ayanaelizabeth.com

I believe we can use the ocean in a way that is sustainable, profitable, and enjoyable. I travel the world on a mission to collect, create, actualize, and amplify the best ideas in ocean conservation. I am Executive Director of the Waitt Institute. I'm @ayanaeliza on Twitter.

A First Impression of Montserrat, from Below the Surface

Dispatch from the field, by Waitt Institute Science Manager Andy Estep: If you’re a geology nerd like me, hearing of Montserrat makes you think “the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, precariously perched on the Lesser Antilles Volcanic Arc along the eastern subduction zone of the Caribbean plate.” The incredible volcanology that has been forming and shaping…

From Laws on Paper to Enforcement on the Water: Sustainable Ocean Management Gets Real in Barbuda

Co-authored by Andy Estep, Science Manager of the Waitt Institute For the first time in the history of Barbuda, law enforcement agents from four agencies gathered in the Codrington Fisheries Complex to collaborate on the enforcement of ocean laws in the island’s waters. This important step will ensure that the community reaps the benefits of new…

Hope for the Future of Curaçao’s Coral Reefs

Curaçao is one of the most culturally vibrant places I’ve been – a melting pot of the Caribbean. Papiamentu, the local dialect, reflects this diversity with its inclusion of Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and African languages.  Underwater, Curaçao is similarly diverse and vibrant, with one of the healthiest coral reefs in the Caribbean. But, as…

Montserrat Turns its Focus Toward Ocean Conservation

When you land on Montserrat, your passport gets stamped with a shamrock. That is the first sign that the island has a bit of magic. The air is warm, but the people are warmer. This video introduces some of the faces and vistas of this wondrous place, the second island where the Waitt Institute has…

Blue Halo Initiative Expands to Montserrat and Curaçao!

VERY EXCITING NEWS! The Waitt Institute has expanded its Blue Halo Initiative to Montserrat and Curaçao, building on the recent success in Barbuda. The new partnerships with these two innovative island governments and communities will help envision, design, and implement sustainable ocean policies for their waters. With the launches of Blue Halo Montserrat and Blue…

14 Ocean Conservation Wins of 2014

Chances are you’ve come across some ocean news lately. And it may even have been positive! Yes, the ocean is still in serious trouble due to overfishing, pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction, but there are more and more success stories to point to, and point I shall. #1. Big year for big marine reserves. Kiribati,…

Small Caribbean Island Shows Bold Ocean Leadership: Barbuda Overhauls Reef and Fisheries Management for Sustainability

On August 12th, Barbuda Council signed into law a sweeping set of new ocean management regulations that zone their coastal waters, strengthen fisheries management, and establish a network of marine sanctuaries. This comes after seventeen months of extensive community consultation and scientific research supported by the Waitt Institute. With these new policies, the small island…

To Save Coral Reefs, Start With Parrotfish

  Coral reefs are very complex ecosystems, but luckily managing them sustainably is not. Simply don’t catch fish faster than they reproduce, don’t damage the corals or pollute the water, reduce atmospheric CO2, and protect some areas as marine reserves. That’s easier said than done, and it’s not news. What is new is that an…

Our Ocean Conference: A Turning Point for Ocean Conservation?

By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Jacob James Ocean conservation is in need of action, not talk, but the Our Ocean Conference, hosted by Secretary John Kerry and the U.S. Department of State last week was not just hot air. Rather, it was worth its carbon footprint, and we were honored to attend. All in attendance…

Priority Investments for Sustainable Fisheries

I had the honor of participating in the Global Ocean Action Summit in The Hague last week. This small conference of diplomats, NGO leaders, and philanthropy and industry representatives came together to define discrete actions for how to achieve food security and blue growth. Broad focal areas included improving traceability, transparency, information sharing, and collaboration…

Can Behavioral Economics Help Save Coral Reefs and Fisheries?

It’s not that people don’t care about the environment; it’s that more pressing needs like feeding their families and paying their bills trump environmental concerns. As a marine biologist, I worry about how poverty can hinder the sustainability of fishing, and therefore endanger the future of fishing communities. The “teach a man to fish” adage can only hold…

Blue Halo Barbuda: Using the Ocean Without Using it Up

As is easy to do, I have fallen in love with Barbuda. It’s magical. The community, the beaches, the children, the tranquility, the seafood, the ingenuity. But from photographs and stories, it’s clear that when you literally dive beneath the surface, Barbuda is not as magnificent underwater as it once was, or as it could…

3 Steps to Community-Driven Ocean Zoning

Co-authored with Will McClintock Ocean zoning is a simple concept. As on land, where there are industrial, commercial, residential, agricultural, and conservation zones, you can’t do everything in the same place at the same time in the ocean. Zoning ensures that each key use of the ocean is allocated appropriate space, and these different uses…

Protecting Fisheries on a Budget: Low-tech Solutions in Barbuda

Co-authored by Shah Selbe Ayana: Over the past year I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with Caribbean governments and stakeholders about potential ways to restore and sustainably manage their oceans. I speak about how marine reserves increase the number and size of fish, and restore ecosystems. How protecting key herbivores (parrotfish, surgeonfish, and urchins)…

3 Questions to Save the Ocean

1. What are your concerns? 2. What do you want your ocean to look like? 3. How can we help you get there? Concept: Empower communities to create a community-driven, science-based sustainable ocean policy that address their concerns, by providing tools and information. Of course, it’s never that simple, but that’s the approach we’re taking in Barbuda,…