The Future of Ocean Conservation

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By Elizabeth M. De Santo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Franklin & Marshall College

The Aspen Institute has just released a new report from the Ocean Community Strategy Roundtable, focusing on several areas as potential keys to the success of new conservation models being used to scale marine protection efforts. In particular, it focuses on developing government-led change through public-private-partnerships (PPPs), the role of corporations with shared agendas in promoting conservation, and new subcontractor models of conservation implementation.

In his HuffPost announcement, David Monsma, Executive Director of the Energy and Environment Program, says: "The ocean conservation community has now developed a more effective way to "save the seas," by approaching political leaders, fishermen and local communities with economics-based proposals that move beyond traditional arguments for protecting biodiversity. By elevating conservation to nationally-prioritized agendas -- like economic development and food security -- conservation groups are engaging new stakeholders in demonstrating the positive long-term impact of environmental protection."

There is still a long way to go to protect our oceans, but I have to say from my own point of view (full disclosure: I was involved in the Roundtable), I am particularly impressed by the ocean conservation community's willingness to come together and brainstorm on new approaches to old problems. There are a lot of good examples in this report, take a look and share it with colleagues internationally.