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Conservation International Gam team installing a manta ID camera.

Center for Oceans

Conservation International envisions healthy oceans benefiting all life on Earth in perpetuity

© Shawn Heinrichs



We all need healthy coral reefs, productive fisheries and intact coastlines, but our growing demands on the ocean's resources are too much for the ocean to handle.

120+ staff around the world

150+ partner organizations

130+ marine protected areas

2.3M square km protected

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    Building on more than a decade of experience working with businesses, governments and communities, the Center for Oceans connects local action and global impact through sound strategies, alliances, learning communities and proven tools. Our long-term goal: to conserve marine biodiversity and ecosystems to safeguard ecological, social and economic benefits for people and nature — because people need healthy oceans to thrive.​





    Blue Nature

    Safeguard the Ocean Places Most Important for People

    We work with governments, communities, civil society and businesses to manage large ocean areas in an integrated manner, balancing the ways that people interact with nature — from food production and resource extraction, to tourism and culture.

    A young woman dives down to explore the seagrass bed in Honduras.
    © Joanne-Weston

    Connected Oceans

    In 20 countries and hand-in-hand with communities and governments, we are advancing new models for place-based integrated ocean management, such as Seascapes and large-scale Marine Protected Areas.

    Colorful Reeftop and Snorkelers
    © Jeff Yonover

    Policy + Governance

    We are developing and applying science-based tools, such as the Ocean Health Index, to embed conservation into public and private decisions at local, national, regional and international levels.

    Bottles of virgin coconut oil made by the indigenous Papuan community in the Fam Islands, Indonesia.
    © CI/Katie Bryden

    Blue Economies

    We are unlocking economic benefits for people by catalyzing sustainable ocean enterprises, leveraging the power of ocean industries to influence change, and accounting for the value of the ocean “capital.”

    Blue Production

    Secure Foods and Livelihoods

    Our fisheries and aquaculture experts are protecting biodiversity and improving community well-being by implementing solutions built on partnerships and ocean-to-plate investments.

    Bluefin tuna in a net.
    © Gary Stokes

    Tuna Initiative

    We are working in the world’s largest fishery, Pacific tuna, to eliminate illegal fishing, deliver increased returns to local communities, and ensure sustainability through better regulations.

    A man in West Java, Indonesia fishing in the lake using a traditional net.
    © Ricky Martin for Center for International Forestry Research/Flickr Creative Commons

    Coastal Community Fisheries

    We are scaling proven approaches across 25 often forgotten coastal fisheries in 13 countries to ensure they are environmentally sustainable and support local livelihoods.

    A freediver surfaces with a collection of reef fish.
    © Paul Nicklen

    Clean Aquaculture

    We are transforming the development pathway for aquaculture, ensuring that this sector can grow sustainably.

    Blue Climate

    Mitigate Carbon Emissions and Adapt to Climate Change Impacts

    To maximize the dual benefits of coastal ecosystems for climate change mitigation and adaptation, we focus on integrated solutions that achieve multiple benefits, such as protecting coastlines from storms while safeguarding biodiversity.

    Scientist studying coastal soil samples
    © CI/photo by Sarah Hoyt

    Climate Adaptation

    We are accelerating the adoption of ecosystem-based blue climate solutions and building the adaptive capacity in communities to climate change impacts.

    The calm, clear water in Bird's Head allows corals to grow very near the surface in this unique environment.
    © Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock

    Climate Mitigation

    We are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and maximizing long-term carbon storage through protection, restoration and management of coastal habitats in countries with the biggest stores of blue carbon including Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia, Liberia, and the Philippines.

    Man navigates a canoe through mangroves in Cisbata Bay, Colombia
    © INVEMAR-Fundación Natura

    Carbon Finance

    We are providing functional examples of blue carbon-based finance, coastal management, and policy to unlock funding and finance through international and multilateral mechanisms for carbon financing, such as market offsets.

    Our Experts


    • Expertise
    • Language
    • Location

    Aulani Wilhelm

    Senior Vice President, Center for Oceans

    For over two decades, Aulani Wilhelm has worked to protect the ocean and the resources it provides. As the senior vice president of the Conservation International Center for Oceans she will build on her past successes, helping to lead the designation of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and founding the Big Ocean Network, to protect the marine resources that people rely on for food, livelihoods and culture.

    Mark Erdmann, Ph.D.

    Vice President, Marine, Asia-Pacific Field Division

    Dr. Mark Erdmann’s work largely focuses on the management of marine protected areas, as well as research on reef fish and mantis shrimp biodiversity, satellite tracking of endangered sharks and rays, and genetic connectivity in MPA networks.

    Scott Henderson

    Vice President, Marine & Lead for Sustainable Landscapes and Seascapes, Field Delivery

    Scott Henderson is a conservation and marine management practitioner with field experience as a researcher and consultant, primarily in Latin America. Scott founded the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape program and is responsible for developing multi-country marine strategies and building awareness of marine conservation issues.

    Emily Pidgeon, Ph.D.

    Senior Director, Strategic Marine Initiatives, Center for Oceans

    Dr. Emily Pidgeon works on developing solutions for coastal and marine adaptation to climate change and on marine based approaches for mitigation through “blue carbon.”