EDF Announces Advisory Council to Tackle Large-Scale Marine Technology Solutions

Experts to help shape technology development and deployment

June 2, 2021
Tad Segal, (202) 572-3549, tsegal@edf.org

(WASHINGTON – June 2, 2021) Today, Environmental Defense Fund announced it formed a high-level advisory council made up of leading experts from multiple countries who will focus their attention on accelerating technological progress toward greater ocean conservation, ecosystem health and sustainable marine fisheries.

The Oceans Technology Solutions Advisory Council is the first of its kind, dedicated to reimagining how technology can be developed, deployed and scaled in order to bring about triple bottom line results to tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges facing our oceans.

The members of the OTS Advisory Council are:

· Esteban Donoso – National Deputy Director, Sernapesca, Chile

· Miguel Jorge – Former Senior Fisheries Specialist, World Bank

· Michele Kuruc – Vice President, Oceans Policy, World Wildlife Fund U.S.

· Emilie Litsinger – Senior Director, Indonesia and Philippines, EDF

· Masa Miyahara – Former President, Fisheries Research Agency of Japan

· Dennis Moran – President, Fishermen’s Finest

· Mark Schrope – Director, Schmidt Marine Technology Partners

· Shah Selbe – Founder, Conservify

· John Virdin – Director, Ocean and Coastal Policy Program, Duke Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

The OTS Advisory Council will work with EDF and its partners on the role of technology in fisheries management, food security, livelihoods, conservation and climate change impacts to our oceans. The outputs from the group will help inform global policy, strategic investment and the role of civil society in using technology to help solve problems, particularly in historically disadvantaged communities — those experiencing the greatest burdens of environmental harm, economic inequality and climate change.

“We’re very excited about the creation of the OTS Advisory Council because of the significant contribution we know the members will make in the global understanding of how we can leverage the benefits of technological progress for better ocean health, food security and economic well-being,” said Christopher Cusack, acting director of EDF’s Oceans Technology Solutions team.

Initially, the advisory council will set their sights on solving large, difficult challenges such as how low-cost technologies can help to incentivize small-scale fisheries to rebuild overfished stocks in the absence of effective regulation and enforcement. “Ultimately, if any new technology is to be successful, it requires people to understand its benefits and begin to adopt it,” said Dr. John Virdin, an OTS Advisory Council member.

To provide a foundation for the council’s work, today EDF released a comprehensive landscape analysis of the application of new and emerging technologies for sustainable fisheries. The report details a range of transformative technologies and how they are being applied on the water for compliance monitoring, stock productivity and oceanographic observing to understand climate-related changes in ocean health.

“Tech is only going to get better, and there are already a lot of smart folks in other industries who are and have built the kind of technology needed in fisheries,” said Shah Selbe, an expert in designing field-ready technology for conservation and an OTS Advisory Council member. “It’s just a matter of connecting them and creating the funding mechanisms so systems are implemented in the right way, resulting in a positive user experience which can be scaled.” 

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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 2.5 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund