The first newsletter from the Center for the Blue Economy.
The Center for the Blue Economy (CBE), established last year with a generous gift from Robin and Deborah Hicks and the Loker Foundation, leverages marine science resources in the Monterey Bay area and complements them with rigorous economic and policy studies to promote the sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources. Under the leadership of Director Dr. Jason Scorse, the CBE has become the new home to the National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP), which will serve as a foundation for the Center’s research and policy work.
In the last few months NOEP has added new and important data to inform policymakers, NGOs, and businesses about the importance of our coastal and ocean resources. Coastal economy and natural resource data has been updated through 2010 and ocean economy data has been updated through 2009. Additionally, Google map functions have been added to the non-market portion of the site.
We are honored that Dr. Judy Kildow, who has led NOEP since its inception, will continue as NOEP Director under the CBE. With this partnership, significant new resources will be invested in NOEP to update the site, expand the databases, and build international capacity. Judy represented the CBE in Singapore in February at the Economist magazine’s World Ocean Summit. Pat Johnston has also joined NOEP and the CBE as the Data Manager.
The CBE is on the verge of hiring two new fulltime faculty members in International Marine Science & Policy and International Marine Law. Over the next few weeks, our outstanding candidates will be visiting campus to meet students, faculty and administrators. The new faculty will start in the fall of 2012 when the Institute officially launches its academic concentration in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. The CBE is also hiring a program manager who will start in the spring to help with a number of important projects, including a new online journal on ocean economics, our annual conference on marine policy, research projects with faculty, students, and visiting scholars, as well as a three-year strategic plan.
The Institute has formed an important new partnership with the MESPOM Program, a master’s program in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management operated by leading European and North American Universities. Under this partnership, International Environmental Policy (IEP) students will have the opportunity to study sustainable tourism and ecosystem-based management (EBM) at the University of the Aegean in Lesvos, Greece in the summer term.
Additionally, we are pleased to welcome Allison Witter as the first MESPOM exchange student in Monterey. As part of the MESPOM program, Allison has studied at the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary), University of the Aegean (Lesvos, Greece), and Lund University (Lund, Sweden). At the CBE she is researching and writing her thesis under the supervision of Dr. Scorse on local seafood systems and community supported fisheries (CSFs), which are being pioneered by two recent IEP graduates (see more below).
In addition to the new partnerships across the Atlantic, the CBE will welcome Rui Zhao from China as the first visiting scholar in the fall of 2012. Mr. Zhao is in charge of marine economic statistics and accounting at the National Marine Data and Information Service (NMDIS) in Tianjin, China. Mr. Zhao will bring his expansive knowledge of China’s ocean economy to the CBE, and participate in joint research projects with our faculty.
Enrique Alonso Garcia has joined the CBE as an affiliated faculty member. Dr. Alonso Garcia serves as a permanent state councilor to the government of Spain, and brings with him a wealth of experience in international marine law. He has served as a professor and lecturer at the Institute as well as Harvard and other prestigious universities. Dr. Alonso Garcia has also served as head of the National Fish & Wildlife, National Parks, National Forests, and
National Marine Sanctuaries Services in Spain. His work as chief negotiator for the Spanish Government and the European Union on international environmental conventions has put him on the front lines of environmental treaty development.
After meeting Dr. Alonso Garcia during his January seminar on International Marine Law, IEP student Laura Henson had the opportunity to travel to Spain In February to help with his work on marine mammal research. Laura is assisting the Franklin Institute of North American Studies, Cabrera National Park, and Oceanográfic (the Spanish aquarium in Valencia, which is the largest in Europe) to implement a marine mammal tracking project on the East side of the Cabrera Archipelago (a group of islands south of Mallorca). Laura participated in the first deployment of marine hydrophones, which will track fin and sperm whales that migrate in the area.
In the Summer of 2011 the CBE sponsored seven fellows to work with leading marine conservation and policy organizations across the nation and internationally. Following on this great success, the Summer Fellows program will be sponsoring a wide range of fellowships in government, with NGOs, and in the private sector during the summer of 2012.
This February several IEP students took part in an exciting workshop put on by the Center for Ocean Solutions Monterey Area Institutions’ Network for Education (COS MARINE). In the workshop, which brought together scientists and key stakeholders, decision support tools were used to address habitat conservation in Elkhorn Slough, which is highly polluted due to agricultural run-off. Students had the opportunity to work closely with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and other policymakers to address a contentious and timely issue facing the Monterey community.
Next year COS MARINE plans to offer another exciting opportunity when IEP Professor Jeff Langholz will teach his Conservation Leadership Practicum, with a focus on marine conservation. This much sought after short course will be a great resource for both the Institute students and other members of the MARINE consortium.
IEP Alumni Oren Frey and Alan Lovewell have launched the first community supported fishery for the Monterey Bay area. The new venture “Local Catch Monterey” provides weekly boxes of fresh, locally caught, sustainable seafood to subscribers. This exciting and innovative venture has been picked up by the local media, with stories in Edible Monterey and the Monterey County Weekly.
William Cecil, another IEP alum, recently received a prestigious California Sea Grant Fellowship. During the fellowship, William will be hosted by the California Department of Fish and Game, and will receive on-the-job-training that will help him become a leader in marine issues, environmental quality, and resource management.
The Institute and the CBE, along with local partners in the marine research community, are excited to host this year’s TEDxMonterey conference, with the theme of Sea Change, on April 13, 2012.