Blue Halo Initiative
The Blue Halo Initiative is a collaborative initiative between the Waitt Institute and Caribbean government partners to develop and implement comprehensive and sustainable ocean policies. The Blue Halo Initiative is science-based, community driven, and seeks to balance economic, conservation, and cultural priorities. SFG supports the Waitt Institute by providing technical expertise and scientific input at Blue Halo project sites in Curacao, Montserrat,and Barbuda.
Caribbean-wide, communities are experiencing declines in the health of their coastal ecosystems and productivity of their fisheries. The Waitt Institute Blue Halo Initiative seeks to empower these communities to create and implement progressive ocean policies that call for sustainable fishing practices and comprehensive ocean zoning. The potential benefits of such policies include: healthier coral reefs and coastal ecosystems, greater abundance of commercially valuable species, and improved fishing and tourism livelihoods.
The vision of the Blue Halo Initiative is to empower communities to restore their ocean. As a science partner to the Initiative, SFG contributes scientific research to help make this vision a reality. At each Blue Halo site, SFG provides analytical tools to support policy and zoning recommendations in collaboration with government partners and other stakeholders. The following is a list of tools SFG provides to support Blue Halo’s core value of using a science-based approach:
Fisheries Monitoring Protocols- We develop efficient fisheries monitoring protocols to collect data for fisheries assessments. These assessments are then used to inform management decisions.
Data-Limited Assessments- We conduct catch or length-based assessments to determine the current status of key species targeted by fisheries.
Projection Modeling- We develop models to compare the outcomes of alternative management interventions.
Fisheries Management Capacity Building- We provide the materials and training necessary to build local capacity on the ground for monitoring, assessing, and managing fisheries.
Economic Valuation of Marine Resources- We estimate the economic value of a site’s marine resources to highlight their importance and incentivize conservation and sustainable use of the ocean.
Tradeoff Analyses- We create models to evaluate tradeoffs between the different objectives of proposed ocean zoning plans.
Sustainable Financing and Enforcement- We develop models to determine optimal licensing fees and fisheries fines that can be used to sustainably finance enforcement.
Blue Halo is a collaborative effort between SFG, the Waitt Institute, Waitt Foundation, and several other philanthropic, NGO, legal, and science partners.