John Bohorquez is a Senior Program Associate with The Ocean Foundation's International Fisheries Conservation Project where he works on science based policy development, advocacy, and implementation with regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs). He is also a Research Associate with the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University (New York, USA) and a Technical Specialist with the Conservation Finance Alliance, a WCS affiliated NGO. His expertise includes finance and economics of conservation, marine protected areas, and sustainable fisheries. Among many contributions to the field, notable works include finance of marine protected areas in Latin America and the Caribbean, technical support for the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, marine conservation in China, and ecosystem restoration in New York with the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program. Read more about these and other topics below and in Research & Publications.
John was previously a Senior Postdoctoral Associate at Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, where he also earned his Ph.D. in Marine Science. Prior to entering graduate school, John worked in finance within the renewable energy and commercial real estate space, performing acquisitions as well as asset management and research/advisory duties for multiple firms. He received his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine) where he majored in Economics and Environmental Studies and minored in Earth & Oceanographic Sciences.
John serves on committees and advisory panels with several environmental organizations including IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Economist, and the Conservation Finance Alliance. He is a USA and Colombia citizen who spends his time between Colombia, New York, and Maine. John loves soccer, writing, and the outdoors as an avid skier, hiker, sea-kayaker, and SCUBA diver.
Biodiversity conservation efforts around the world require hundreds of billions of dollars each year in order to function. Examples of major expenses include salaries for enforcement rangers and other staff, purchase and upkeep of equipment and facilities, and long-term scientific monitoring. Furthermore, conservation efforts can be undermined by perverse financial incentives such as harmful fishing subsidies. The Conservation Finance Alliance recently described conservation finance as, “mechanisms and strategies that generate, manage, and deploy financial resources and align incentives to achieve nature conservation outcomes.” Recent estimates suggest that conservation efforts receive only a fraction of required investments needed in order to reach global biodiversity goals, and conservation finance is a critical field for the future of life on earth.
Protected areas can be defined as "a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values" (IUCN). This definition includes features from iconic National Parks down to local arboretums or land trusts in your own backyard. But just as Yellowstone National Park can be viewed as a protected area, protected areas also exist in the ocean and coastal environments, where they are referred to as marine protected areas (MPAs).
MPAs are among the most popular and flexible tools for marine conservation, with the potential to help marine ecosystems recover, remain intact (if healthy), and build resilience to impacts from climate change. Now protecting 8% of the ocean, over 100 countries around the world have advocated to protect 30% of the ocean or more by 2030. Yet the majority of MPAs are believed to be ineffective often due to insufficient staff and budgetary capacity. John's work is dedicated to improving the financial sustainability of MPAs around the world in order to directly address these challenges.
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