Changing Planet

Blue Halo Initiative Expands to Montserrat and Curaçao!

VERY EXCITING NEWS! The Waitt Institute has expanded its Blue Halo Initiative to Montserrat and Curaçao, building on the recent success in Barbuda. The new partnerships with these two innovative island governments and communities will help envision, design, and implement sustainable ocean policies for their waters.

With the launches of Blue Halo Montserrat and Blue Halo Curaçao the Waitt Institute has not only tripled the number of partner islands to which we offer our toolkit for ocean management, but also increased the amount of ocean area where we support sustainable policies to 38,700 km2.


Montserrat may be best known for its past volcanic eruptions, but it is embracing a future of ocean conservation. Curaçao has some of the healthiest coral reefs in the Caribbean, but that is certainly subject to change unless sustainable management is put in place.

Blue Halo Initiative Caribbean Map copy

This Initiative began in Barbuda in 2012. After a year and a half of deep collaboration amongst the people of Barbuda and technical experts, comprehensive and progressive new ocean laws were passed.

Barbuda’s ocean zoning is now in place, including one-third of coastal areas protected in marine reserves. The new laws also completely protect essential species like parrotfish, and restrict habitat damage overall. After enforcement begins (the Institute is also supporting the project’s implementation phase), the benefits of this new management will soon become obvious to the residents – and fishermen.

We’re thrilled to begin similar work with both Montserrat and Curacao, thanks to our new, signed memoranda of understanding with the islands’ individual governments. (See press release.) Onward to using the ocean without using it up!

Curaçao MOU signing press conference with Minister Whiteman.
MOU signing and press conference in Curaçao with Dr. Whiteman, Minister of Health, Environment, and Nature.

 For more information see, and to watch these Blue Halo stories unfold follow @WaittInstitute on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo.


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.
  • Nemo

    So great to see this expansion of this concept. But am wondering why places like Antigua, St Lucia and others are not on board.
    Could this be due to the influence of Japanese fishery/whaling interests?!

  • Hi. The Waitt Institute considers many criteria in selecting Blue Halo partners. The major ones are: #1 political will, #2 stakeholder support, #3 the ecological value of the ocean resources, and then, of course, our organizational capacity. We also only work in places where our support is needed, wanted, and can be useful. We plan to partner with an additional island each year, making a four year commitment to each, so if there is interest from Antigua and/or St. Lucia, we would certainly consider it!

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