Editor’s note: This week, Conservation International is co-hosting the Blue Oceans Conference in Liberia to bring attention to ocean conservation issues in Africa, where they have been historically undervalued. Jessica Donovan-Allen, country director of Conservation International Liberia, spoke at the conference. Here is an edited version of her prepared remarks.
I know personally the value of coastal conservation. I grew up the daughter of a fisherman in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a child of the ocean. My family’s livelihood rose and fell with the tide, but it was — and remains — the action or inaction of businesses, governments and policymakers that most affect the relationship between oceans and the people connected to them through their livelihoods.
That’s why it is our goal at the Blue Oceans Conference — the first major environmental and marine conference in Western Africa — to confront the challenges of marine pollution, climate change and sustainable fishing.