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Scientists Gather at International Marine Conservation Congress to Develop Global Ocean Refuge System Criteria

Marine Conservation Institute, a leader in protecting marine biodiversity, is hosting an all-day workshop with 19 top marine scientists today to discuss criteria for the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES). The workshop is being held in Glasgow, Scotland, a day before the 3rd annual International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC3) takes place there. Dr. Elliott Norse, Marine Conservation Institute founder and Chief Scientist, will also give a plenary speech to close the scientific portion of IMCC3 on August 18. His talk is in honor of his late friend and colleague Dr. Ransom A. Myers and will feature an overview of GLORES.

GLORES is an initiative by Marine Conservation Institute designed to catalyze strong protection for at least 20% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region of the world’s oceans by 2030. By establishing consistent criteria for determining the most important locations and protection levels needed to save species and their habitats from harm, GLORES will provide standards that the world can use to evaluate the effectiveness of marine protected areas.

Dr. Norse and Marine Conservation Institute president Dr. Lance Morgan have been working countless hours reviewing existing research, talking to other marine scientists and developing a first draft of the GLORES criteria. The workshop is being held to review the draft criteria with additional marine scientists and to further enhance it. Scientists from leading academic institutions such as Stanford University, Duke University and Memorial University of Newfoundland will be at the workshop as well as scientists from environmental non-profits such as Greenpeace and Ocean Conservancy.

“We are seeking the wisdom of expert marine scientists so the GLORES criteria will encourage countries to protect the most important places for saving marine species from extinction,” said Dr. Norse.  “These criteria are so important that we need the best thinkers.”

The criteria has to take into account everything from diversity, endangered populations, under-represented places, viability and a whole range of other issues. It also has to consider if the protection can be enforced, how to maintain that enforcement and for how long. These are just a few of the many things that need to be evaluated.

“GLORES is a major undertaking and the scientific criteria is possibly the most important of the pieces. We need the criteria be strong to ensure GLORES is widely embraced by all of its stakeholders and delivers the benefits of healthy and resilient oceans to humankind well into the future,” said Dr. Morgan. “We hope to walk away from the workshop with some excellent new insights and refinements for the criteria.”

About Marine Conservation Institute 
Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly-experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)—a strategic, cost-effective way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. Founded in 1996, Marine Conservation Institute is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization with offices in Seattle, near San Francisco and in Washington DC.  For more information, please go to:

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