The Aspen Institute Releases Report on the Ocean Conservation Community

December 9, 2013

Contact: Nicole Buckley
Senior Program Manager
The Aspen Institute
212-895-8005 |

The Aspen Institute Releases Report on the Ocean Conservation Community

New report highlights need for closer coordination of ocean conservation efforts and strategies for engaging those seen as having competing interests

Washington, DC, December, 09, 2013 – The Aspen Institute Energy & Environment Program has released The Ocean Community Report on the success and efficacy of ocean conservation and marine protection planning, based on a year-long study of strategies for building a more coordinated and aligned marine conservation movement.

In this report, made possible with support from the Waitt Foundation, the Institute shares key findings and recommendations coming out of two studies and an expert dialogue, and highlights methods for improving the way that the ocean conservation community, its funders, and its key decision-makers align their efforts.

The Aspen Institute partnered with Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Institute’s Advocacy Planning and Evaluation Program to survey recent funding, policy and advocacy related to establishing marine protected areas. Adding to the findings in these studies, the Institute convened an in-person, multiday dialogue with some thirty members of the ocean conservation community, including major funders, marine scientists, policymakers, and conservation leaders. The goal of this Ocean Community Study & Dialogue was to find and actively test the ways in which the conservation community might improve the design, implementation and effectiveness of protected areas and other policies aimed at reducing the impact of overfishing on our oceans.

The Ocean Community Report targets several key areas of opportunity in which the ocean conservation community can improve its efficacy. These opportunities include strengthening collaboration between conservation groups (and creating funder incentives to do so) and developing an information clearinghouse for the community through which efforts can be aligned. The report also highlights the importance of improving communications by reframing conservation within other nationally prioritized issues such as economic development or food security, including the voices of unorthodox stakeholders, and training political and business leaders to become informed spokespeople for conservation. 

This initiative built on the Institute’s previous work on conservation and marine protection, including the Aspen Dialogue and Commission on Arctic Climate Change, and Dialogue Series on Conservation in the 21st Century. The Energy & Environment Program is now developing initiatives on scaling marine spatial planning, the role of sustainable fisheries in food security, and the impact of climate change on our oceans.

The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program provides nonpartisan leadership and a neutral forum for improving energy and environmental policy-making through values-based dialogue. With its intentional dialogues, public programs, annual policy forums, and an environmental leadership initiative, the program creates impartial venues for global leaders to engage in informed discussion around energy and environmental challenges and solutions.

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The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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