Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Basic Institutional Arrangements Required to Preserve Life in the Ocean"

Andrea Sáenz-Arroyo
Science Director
Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

"As the science director of a Mexican NGO and the first woman in Mexico to receive the prestigious Marine Conservation Fellowship award from the Pew Charitable Trust, Dr. Saenz-Arroyo’s work and research has been integral to not only understanding, but strengthening the resilience and well-being of coastal communities in Northwest Mexico."

— Hosted by Jacy Brunkow and the Latin American Fishery Fellows

Many of us wonder why conservation outcomes in the ocean seem so small compared to the threats these ecosystems face. Data show that populations of large predators are rapidly shrinking, ecosystem goods and services are being lost, and the cumulative impact is spreading all over the world. Although marine protected areas (MPAs) have proven to be a powerful tool to recover depleted species, few have shown economic benefits for their users, especially for poor people with limited alternative livelihoods. The global community is also frustrated by the slow speed at which MPAs are created and their lack of effectiveness in protecting large, vulnerable species, such as sharks and turtles. In this talk I will present a simple solution in which local agents are able to make financial transactions with global agents to preserve intangible goods and services, which are mostly appreciated by the global community. The solution will be illustrated by two case studies, one in the Baja California kelp forest in Mexico and the other in the District of Kubalau, on the Island of Vanua Levu, Fiji.

As a Mexican marine biologist with a PhD in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management, Dr. Sáenz-Arroyo employs a long-term historical perspective in seeking to understand the role played by humans as intelligent predators in the planet’s ecosystems. She is fascinated by how modern humans perceive environmental impacts and how some sophisticated, but inappropriate, scientific paradigms have prevented society from committing resources to nature conservation. In 2000 she joined Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C., a Mexican nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging marine conservation through participatory approaches. In 2007, she became an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona and a visiting professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma México. She was awarded the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation in 2011.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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