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Tune in: LIVE Twitter Chat With Explorer Paul Rose

Tweet your questions about ocean conservation @Paul_Rose using #NatGeoLive and join us Thursday, March 19th at 10 a.m. ET!

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…

Tourism, Not Tuna

There is a new wave of conservation in the Pacific. Fed up with overfishing and other non-sustainable practices like shark finning, small island nations are returning to more traditional ways. They are beginning to scale back industrial fishing in their waters, to protect their fish stocks from illegal fishing, and to create sustainable tourism destinations…

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…

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…

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,…

Listen to Your Elders: Words From Barbudan Fisherman Larkin Webber

I was putting up posters in Barbuda for an upcoming community consultation meeting about Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative, when I had the pleasure of meeting Larkin Webber. Mr. Webber, now 75 years old, has fished in Barbuda’s waters his entire life. He became a full-time fisherman in 1976. He raised seven children on fishing. He has seen…

Ask: What do you want your ocean to look like? Then listen.

There is a lot of talk in conservation about “community-based” and “stakeholder-driven” projects, but what does that really mean? When pursued honestly, it can be summarized in one word: vulnerability. The Waitt Institute’s evolving approach to ocean conservation is based on asking a community two questions: What do you want your ocean to look like?…

Explaining the Barbuda Ocean Initiative on Live TV

I’ve been writing here about the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative, which the Waitt Institute is coordinating. In essence, it’s about asking a community what they want their future ocean to look like and figuring out how to get there. It’s an exciting model for island-wide, comprehensive ocean zoning and sustainable management of fisheries. It’s science-based, collaborative,…

Assessing Barbuda’s Ecosystems – What’s Under the Water?

Before making changes to ocean management, it helps to know something about the status of living creatures and ecosystems you’re trying to use sustainably. So, nine marine biologists* (plus me makes ten) descended on Barbuda in May to conduct an ecological assessment of the fish, coral, lobster, conch, and water quality within 3 miles of…