Improving fisheries sustainability and ocean management in the Caribbean

Sarah Lester

In collaboration with colleagues at the Sustainable Fisheries Group at University of California Santa Barbara, Sarah is working with the Waitt Institute’s Blue Halo Initiative, which partners with governments to develop and implement comprehensive, science-based, community-driven solutions for sustainable ocean management. Blue Halo currently focuses on several islands in the Caribbean – Barbuda, Montserrat, and Curaçao – recognizing that human well-being in the Caribbean is highly dependent on the health of marine ecosystems. Sarah provides scientific assistance to the Initiative, including overseeing monitoring and assessment of local coral reef fisheries; conducting economic valuations and quantitative analyses of marine resources to motivate policy change; and providing scientific guidance on fisheries regulations and ocean zoning policies. In addition to this site-level work, Sarah is involved in two Caribbean-wide research projects supported by the Initiative: 1) quantifying the potential for offshore aquaculture development in the Caribbean and how profits and yields are likely to vary across space and 2) assessing the social-ecological vulnerability of coastal fisheries and tourism in Caribbean nations to climate change impacts, specifically coral bleaching. Sarah’s work on the project is generously supported by a grant from the Waitt Foundation to the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UCSB.