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EditPhoto Title:Protecting the sea
EditPhoto Description:Seascapes: a strategy for large-scale marine protection and management
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EditImage Description:Yellow fish and coral reef in the ocean in Birds Head Seascape, Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia,
EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
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It is often said that “everything returns to the sea.” For many people all over the world, they never left.

Millions of people in the coastal communities of countries from Indonesia to the United States to Ecuador and many more rely on ocean resources for their food, livelihoods and homes. Resources such as fish to eat or popular animals like whales to attract tourists must be managed carefully and sustainably.

But fish and whales don’t respect national boundaries. That can make effective management and preservation a challenge when different countries are connected to the same area of sea.

That’s why Conservation International pioneered the Seascape approach, which brings together interested groups with a common goal: to protect a vital area of the sea. These coalitions include governments, communities and the private sector — and often CI.

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Edit Item Title:Management at scale
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Edit Item Text:Conservation works best when it is at scale — taking into account an entire area rather than dividing it up piecemeal, especially when that area has fluid boundaries. But managing at that scale is not easy. Seascapes are designed to be large enough to encompass different levels of government from the local to the national, but not too large to manage effectively. Having local support along with the reach and impact of government increases the likelihood of conservation success.
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Edit Item Title:Focus on sustainability
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Edit Item Text:While there are many competing interests involved in the management of resources — ecological, social, economic and institutional — these perspectives are all connected. Seascapes use sustainable practices — both the modern and the traditional — as key for integrating these perspectives and designing solutions to challenges in the environment. This allows governments, communities and local organizations to see the big picture and follow a sustainable development path, instead of reacting to immediate problems with no thought for long-term consequences.
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Edit Item Title:A shared commitment
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Edit Item Text:Thinking of a seascape as a whole, with its own name and gifts and needs, fosters the kind of cooperation that is necessary for its protection and sustainable management. Bringing together the best science with policy in a spirit of collaboration allows local champions and governments to share knowledge and communicate effectively. With this information, communities, institutions and local governments are empowered to work together — and value their priceless marine resources.
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Our role

CI is working to build coalitions among governments, communities and the private sector to improve ocean management at scale. The Seascape approach is under continual development, drawing on the collective practical experience and expertise of the many people and groups that have been a part of the program’s development since 2004. This clearly designed approach effectively merges community-based conservation with end goals known as “The 9 Essential Elements of a Functional Seascape.”

Working with local partners in eight countries, CI has been instrumental in improving management in four seascapes: Abrolhos Seascape in Brazil; Bird’s Head Seascape in Indonesia; Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape in Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador; and Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

CI's goal with the seascapes model is to tangibly improve human well-being as well as the ecosystem. This focus on both the ecological and the socioeconomic requires a flexible approach. We support a long-term commitment to an area as well as building up local capacity among our partners so they can do what needs to be done. Working with coalitions of partners means more available resources, smart and effective teams built of complementary strengths and institutions that can stand the test of time.



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EditImage Alt Text:Fernandina, the wesernmost Galapagos island.
EditTitle:By the numbers
EditText:Working with 150 partners, 5.2 million hectares (12.8 million acres) of sea have been protected and 22 million hectares (54.4 million acres) strengthened in four seascape areas: Abrolhos, Bird's Head, Sulu-Sulawesi and Eastern Tropical Pacific.
EditPhoto Credit: © Will Turner
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    CI’s Seascape Project Sites


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    EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_65657554.jpg
    EditImage Alt Text:Wayag Lagoon, Indonesia. © Will Turner
    EditCaption Title:Bird’s Head Seascape
    EditCaption Description:The Bird’s Head Seascape in the Coral Triangle, in West Papua, Indonesia, boasts the highest fish diversity for any area of its size. It is a strong example of how communities can drive conservation at scale and is turning the tide on threats such as destructive fishing methods and overfishing.
    EditRead More Link:/birds-head[Optional]


    EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_84406001.jpg
    EditImage Alt Text:Fish swimming in Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, Cocos Island, Costa Rica. © Conservation International/photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
    EditCaption Title:Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape
    EditCaption Description:The Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape has been called “the Serengeti of the seas” because of the large concentration of amazing marine species. Including the coastal Pacific waters of the nations of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, this seascape boasts fully protected national parks, marine reserves and multiple-use marine management areas - many due in part to CI’s contributions.
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    EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_43152739.jpg
    EditImage Alt Text:Abrolhos National Park, Bahia, Brazil. © Luciano Candisani/iLCP
    EditCaption Title:Abrolhos Seascape
    EditCaption Description:The Abrolhos Seascape, located off the central coast of Brazil, boasts the highest marine biodiversity in the southern Atlantic. Working with local fishing communities, CI, local partners and the Brazilian government have worked to protect critical areas of biodiversity and promote small-scale sustainable fisheries.
    EditRead More Link:/where/pages/abrolhos-seascape.aspx[Optional]
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    EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_20440505.jpg
    EditImage Alt Text:Two men haul a canoe onto the beach on a small island in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. © Robin Moore/iLCP
    EditCaption Title:Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape
    EditCaption Description:Spanning the waters of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape is located in the center of the Coral Triangle. There, CI works with communities and government to safeguard natural resources like mangrove forests and coral reefs — and the benefits they provide to people — by strengthening the management of the seascape’s protected areas and sustainable fisheries for more resilient coastal communities.
    EditRead More Link:/sulu-sulawesi[Optional]
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    EditNewsletter Title:Keep in touch
    EditNewsletter Message:Get the latest updates on CI’s work delivered to your inbox.
    EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Title:Thank you for joining
    EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Text:We can't protect the planet without your support​
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    EditDonate Title:Donate
    EditDonate Message:​​​Donate to CI to protect all the parts of nature we can’t live without.​​
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    More of Our Work Links

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    First Image

    EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada

    Second Image

    EditTitle:Science and Innovation
    EditImage Alt Text:Scientists set a camera trap. © Benjamin Drummond

    Third Image

    EditTitle:The Ocean
    EditImage Alt Text:Coral reef in Viti Levu, Fiji, Oceania. © William Crosse
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