Ocean First Education and Ocean First Institute at Marine Wilderness 10+10

By on 2/26/15

Ocean First Education Director of Science and Research Dr. Caine Delacy and Ocean First Institute Director Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza attended the WILD Foundation Marine Wilderness 10+10 workshop in Imperial Beach, California this February. The goal of the workshop was to bring together national and state agencies, photographers, scientists and conservation groups to discuss marine wilderness values and how to implement protection and raise awareness for 20 important sites already selected around the world. What emerged from the workshop was a solid plan for promoting science, conservation and storytelling in a way that would capture public support for these wilderness areas.

Ocean First Education will play a central role in monitoring the ecological and biological changes over time in marine wilderness areas following changes in management strategies, and where new wilderness areas are designated. Using stereo-video camera to monitor fish life and still cameras to monitor coral communities, Ocean First Education will be building a comprehensive data set over time to detect change that comes from changes in management strategies as well as changes that occur due to the shifts in our global climate. This data will be the basis of evaluation for success of each marine wilderness area.

Mikki was representing Ocean First Institute at the workshop to bridge the gap between protecting wilderness sites while still promoting public access in the form of scuba divers and other recreation. The institute has developed an eco-certification program specific to the dive industry that promotes the use of best practices that help operators minimize their impacts on wilderness areas. Our hope is that the Institutes program will be the positive guideline for recreation within these designated wilderness areas.

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