This past week, I was sent to Washington D.C. to attend the Mission Blue Oceanic MPA Workshop. Mission Blue is a concept spearheaded by Sylvia Earle and the National Geographic Society (NGS) that seeks to preserve as much of the ocean as possible– and more specifically, at least 20%.
WildAid’s particular interest in this workshop was their emphasis on managing high seas MPAs and figuring out the best ways to establish compliance and enforce their no take status. Personally, I sought to make some good contacts that could potentially contribute to my publication with WildAid on marine enforcement, since the guests included various MPA managers, donors, and some government officials.
I took a red-eye flight from SFO to BWI on Monday night and arrived early Tuesday morning.
I took a cab straight to the conference, since I was definitely cutting it close and enjoyed the sights along the way. The ride took a little over an hour with traffic, but we finally made it.
After some coffee and a quick breakfast, the group of about 30-40 people sat down to listen to a few speakers.
Elliott Norse– the president of the Marine Conservation Institute and someone I met at MIIS through Dr. Charlie Wahle– was one of the speakers and he gave us some really great background information on oceanic MPAs.
After a short break, we gathered into action teams where we were trying to figure out specific action items to progress the mission. My team was focused on enforcement and consisted of a few MPA managers, some Coast Guard representatives, and a few nonprofits.
We ended up with some great ideas and initiatives, as well as specific action items that individuals would take.
The next day, we continued working on our initiatives and then we all made individual promises to continue with the mission, with specific action items we would take.
The conference was a lot of fun, and I think we made excellent progress. I also managed to meet some very interesting people and acquire the contacts I needed for my publication, and potential guests for our conference.