Changing Planet

Explaining the Barbuda Ocean Initiative on Live TV

I’ve been writing here about the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative, which the Waitt Institute is coordinating. In essence, it’s about asking a community what they want their future ocean to look like and figuring out how to get there. It’s an exciting model for island-wide, comprehensive ocean zoning and sustainable management of fisheries. It’s science-based, collaborative, and stakeholder-driven.

I’ve described the Initiative, shared stories about the ecological assessment, SCUBA training, interviews with fishermen, launch celebrations, and premiered our introductory video, BUT there is something about a live interview that forces you to crystalize concepts and throw out the jargon (while trying not to squint too much at the sun in your eyes, or flinch too much at the bites of the sand flies). So here’s my live TV interview on Antigua & Barbuda’s morning show.

Thank you to “Good Morning Antigua & Barbuda” and ABS TV for providing this opportunity to share information about the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative with the people of Antigua & Barbuda. Thank you to Tasheka Lavann for asking great questions. The setting on the shore of the Codrington Lagoon — critical nursery habitat for the economically important lobster, snapper, and grunt fisheries — could not have been more appropriate.

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, conservation strategist, and Brooklyn native. She is founder and president of Ocean Collectiv, a consulting firm for ocean conservation strategies grounded in social justice. She teaches at New York University as an adjunct professor, and was co-director of partnerships for the March for Science. As executive director of the Waitt Institute, Ayana co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort. Previously, she worked on ocean policy at the EPA and NOAA, and was recently a TED resident and Aspen Institute fellow. She envisions and works toward a healthy ocean that supports food security, economies, and cultures. Find her @ayanaeliza.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (

Social Media