When I was executive director of the Waitt Institute, I had the incredible opportunity to gather a dream team of experts to build the Blue Halo Initiative. I brought international scientists, lawyers, technologists, and artists together with Antiguan and Barbudan fishermen, teachers, civil servants, and politicians. The work was collaborative, science-based, and community-driven.
After a year and a half, a comprehensive new legal framework was in place. This included zoning Barbuda’s waters, establishing one third of the coastal area as marine reserves, restricting unsustainable fishing, and protecting mangroves, seagrasses, sea urchins, parrotfish, and sharks. This “Blue Halo” became a model for sustainable ocean management, expanding to Montserrat and Curaçao, and inspiring related work elsewhere.
Seeing the scale of what is possible when a diverse collection of experts come together to create and implement solutions, I was inspired to build an organization that could pull together the dream team for any ocean conservation challenge. Thus, the Ocean Collectiv.
- Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Founder of Ocean Collectiv