Conservation International Gam team installing a manta ID camera.

Center for Oceans

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


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.

staff around the world
partner organizations
marine protected areas
square km protected



Explore the ocean

The Center for Oceans develops global solutions to keep our oceans healthy and to inform global decision-making. Explore our solutions for advancing healthy and productive oceans.

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.

© Paul Nicklen

Clean Aquaculture

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

© Chaiwat Subprasom/REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo

Human Rights

We are transitioning the Monterey Framework for Socially Responsible Seafood into practice in critical industrial and small-scale fisheries supply chains — ensuring social safeguards to protect fishers' civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

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
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Aulani Wilhelm

Senior Vice President, Center for Oceans

Aulani Wilhelm is the senior vice president for Oceans at Conservation International. Her work bridges culture, community and science to drive innovations in ocean conservation.

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.

Vice President, Ocean Science and Innovation

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.”

John N. (“Jack”) Kittinger, Ph.D.

Vice President, Global Fisheries and Aquaculture program

As the Vice President, Global Fisheries and Aquaculture program in Conservation International's Center for Oceans, Dr. Kittinger works to ensure a healthy ocean provides benefits to coastal communities.

Guilherme Dutra

Director, Marine Program, Conservation International-Brazil

Guilherme Dutra leads a series of initiatives to support the implementation and expansion of the Marine Protected Areas network in the Abrolhos region and other parts of Brazil. Dutra has coordinated efforts to increase the knowledge and recognition of the importance the Abrolhos coral reefs, as well as developing management solutions that influence marine conservation in the country.

Marco Quesada, Ph.D.

Vice President, Oceans, Americas Field Division

Dr. Marco Quesada Alpizar specializes in marine conservation, marine policy, and fisheries policy and management. Marco has been involved in the creation of Costa Rica’s largest marine protected area through the Costa Rica program, as well as designing and implementing policies for Costa Rica’s National Maritime Enforcement Strategy.