About The Project

The Ocean Defenders Project is a collaborative initiative that aims to increase understanding of, raise the profile of, and bring greater support to ocean defenders worldwide. This section of the website provides information about the aims, activities and outputs of The Ocean Defenders Project, as well as project the collaborators, advisory group, and funders and partners who make this work possible.
We document case studies, highlighting the diverse threats, resistance efforts, and challenges faced by ocean communities.
artisanal fisher

The Ocean Defenders Project is a collaborative initiative that aims to increase understanding of, raise the profile of, and bring greater support to ocean defenders worldwide. 

The Ocean Defenders Project will document and garner insights from case studies from around the globe into the diverse threats to, resistance efforts of, and challenges faced by ocean communities. By amplifying the stories and voices of Ocean Defenders, we strive to elevate their visibility and create awareness about their crucial role in protecting marine and coastal environments. This is particularly relevant for Ocean Defenders as they are increasingly being marginalized and criminalized for their efforts, facing threats, violence and even being murdered. Additional research will be conducted to identify networks, allied organizations, additional resources, and actions that can be taken to support ocean defenders.

The Ocean Defenders Project will generate and share a diversity of outputs and resources – including publications, presentations, videos, and this website. Ultimately, the project aims to reach a diverse audience including representatives from civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, governments, funders, academics, and civil society organizations – to inspire more people to fight for and support ocean defenders’ efforts to protect their territories, the environment, and human rights. 

Please explore the various sections of this website to learn more about the project and ocean defenders, and share with others in your network.

The Ocean Defenders Project is guided by the following three main objectives

Increasing understanding of ocean defenders through documentation of case studies and research into effective action.

Raising the profile of ocean defenders through strategic communications and presentations at international conferences.

Bringing greater support to ocean defenders through promoting action by allied organizations.


Meet the collaborators on the project, who are conducting research, authoring case studies and garnering insights about ocean defenders in different regions of the world.
nathan bennett

Nathan Bennett


Global Ocean Lead Scientist

Rocío Lopez

Rocío López de la Lama

The Ocean Defenders Project

Project Manager

Ann Singeo
Ann Singeo

Ebiil Society

Co-Founder Executive Director

Francisco Araos
Francisco Araos

Universidad de Los Lagos

Associate Professor

Jessica Blythe
Jessica Blythe

Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, St. Catharines, Brock University

Associate Professor

john childs portrait

John Childs

Lancaster University

Senior Lecturer

Philippe LeBillon

Philippe Le Billon

University of British Columbia with the Department of Geography, the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries


Ron Vave

Ron Vave

Coastal Studies, East Carolina University

Postdoctoral Researcher

Samantha Radley

Samantha Radley

Environmental Defenders Collaborative

Program Associate

Sebastian Villasante

Sebastian Villasante

University of Santiago de Compostela

Assistant Professor

Isaac Nyameke

College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks

PhD Student

Hugh Govan

Independent researcher and activist

Prateep Kumar Nayak

School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development at the University of Waterloo

Associate Professor

Navya Vikraman Nair

School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development at the University of Waterloo

PhD candidate

Priscila Lopes

Department of Ecology, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

Associate Professor

Taryn Pereira Kaplan

Coastal Justice Network and One Ocean Hub, based at the Environmental Learning Research Centre, Rhodes University


Gabriel Barros

Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil (UFBA)


Samiya Ahmed Selim

Center for Sustainable Development, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh

Professor and Director

Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger

Institute for Environmental Science and Technology, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Postdoctorate Researcher

Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy

Beolobe – The Power of Local Communities

Funder and small-scale fisheries advocate

Alison Wright

Environmental Defenders Collaborative


Elisa Morgera

One Ocean Hub and Strathclyde University Law School

Director and Professor of Global Environmental Law

Irmak Ertör

Ataturk Institute for Modern Turkish History, Bogazici University

Assistant Professor

Pinar Ertör-Akyazi

Institute of Environmental Sciences, Boğaziçi University

Assistant Professor

Melissa Marschke

School of International and Global Studies, University of Ottawa


Aliou Sall

Co-coordinator of V2V Project for Senejal jointly with University Cheikh Anta Diop

Director of the NGO CREDETIP


The following organizations make The Ocean Defenders Project possible through financial support or partnerships.


The following institutions are partners of The Ocean Defenders Project.

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