TODAY: Seminar with Patrick Christie

4:30 PM, Fishery Sciences Auditorium


Patrick Christie

Professor, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs and Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

Addressing why marine reserves fail: turning marine conservation on its head


There are many reasons to support marine conservation and reserve implementation, but policies are frequently ad hoc and ineffective. Misanthropy and draconian ‘solutions’ are surprisingly common. In the global South, the majority of conservation and reserve programs are driven by the global North, ecological (and not social) scientific knowledge, and external/temporary funding—factors not associated with long–term success. In the North, reliance on command and control management has clear limitations. In short, there is a need for a new, complementary paradigm. Innovation is leading to exciting demand–driven conservation and reserve programs based on interdisciplinary social–ecological research and program evaluation, capacity development through learning networks, social movements, participatory planning, and environmental justice. The external, scientific and conservation expert has a role to play as student, facilitator and mentor, but should be reluctant to determine priorities and create dependencies. Vested interests resist change to the prevailing scientific and conservation paradigm.


Patrick’s scholarship focuses on the human dimensions of marine conservation employing marine protected areas, ecosystem–based management, and marine spatial planning. He frequently advises governments, conservation NGOs, donors, and coastal communities. He draws from his three years of experience living in a Philippine fishing community implementing a community–based marine protected area as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He is Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, the Editor–In–Chief for the peer reviewed journal Coastal Management, and former national board member for The Coastal Society. He has a Bachelors degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a Masters degree in conservation biology and Doctorate in environmental sociology and policy from the University of Michigan.

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