How One Marine Biologist Works to Save Our Oceans

Barbuda is a serene Caribbean island with a small, vibrant community. However, in recent years, Barbuda's coral reefs have taken a turn for the worse and its fish populations have plummeted.

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a PhD graduate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and Executive Director of the Waitt Institute, selected Barbuda as the pilot for the Blue Halo Initiative because of the government and local community’s willingness to work toward a stronger, more sustainable ocean management plan, including the creation of no-take sanctuary zones.

“Barbuda’s economy and culture depend on a healthy ocean,” said Johnson. “Barbudans understand what’s at stake and want to improve the way their waters are managed, so the Waitt Institute and I were eager to support them.”

Thus, the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative was born. Under this initiative, the Waitt Institute, an organization that partners with governments to “empower communities to restore their oceans,” supplied the Barbudan government and community with the tools needed for sustainable ocean management.

The Institute’s chairman and founder, Ted Waitt, started his success by co-founding computer software giant Gateway, Inc. He was named by Business Week as one of America’s 50 most generous philanthropists, and has worked vigorously in his endeavors of ocean conservation, through both the Waitt Foundation, which funds conservation efforts, and the Waitt Institute, which undertakes its own conservation projects.