Breaching the Blue is run by Mark Gibson, a divemaster, freediver, and conservationist currently based at Michigan State University. It exists to connect the dots for a better understanding of global fisheries conservation challenges.
The Focus of the Website
I started this website to fill a surprising gap in our understanding of fisheries management. Biological aspects are well discussed and there are, at the least, obvious biological models to apply to most fisheries to manage them well. But what about the political aspects of fisheries management and the models we employ to reach our biological goals? This equally important component of successful ocean conservation is poorly understood.
Given this, I look at the social well-being and political economy aspects of fisheries management. A special interest of mine is how to better design fishery management systems to affect compliance, both voluntary and coerced. Open-access fisheries, over-capitalized fleets, and other pressures today favor non-compliance with scientifically-set management rules. So what keeps fishermen from breaking the rules? Or not breaking the rules even more than they do? And how should we punish those offenders? These are the questions that fascinate me.
I got my start in oceans issues when I discovered SCUBA diving back in 2005. I was working on international development projects in Central America, but the excitement of investigating municipal corruption and human rights atrocities couldn’t compete with the Caribbean marine life off the coast of Honduras. I obtained my divemaster certification, led tours for a dive shop, and assisted in the research for a whale shark documentary. I decided to go ‘all in’ after returning stateside. I went to Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington, DC for a master’s in international economics and environmental policy and I afterwards entered into the marine policy field.
In my professional life, I have been very fortunate to have engaged on marine pollution, destructive deep-sea fishing, international tuna management, rights-based management (RBM) and illegal fishing at Oceana, the Pew Environment Group, and the World Wildlife Fund, three of the world’s conservation NGOs working on marine issues. This work has involved policy advocacy amongst legislators in the United States and the European Union, as well as direct stakeholder engagement with governments and industry in Latin America. I now continue my work through PhD research with Michigan State University’s Conservation Criminology Unit.
In my spare time, you can find me blogging, freediving, or (hopefully) sitting on the perfect beach in Little Corn Island, Nicaragua.
You can contact me at email@example.com and follow me on Twitter @breachingblue.