A Call for a Hippocratic Oath on Protecting the World’s Oceans
In a Yale Environment 360 interview, scientist Nathan Bennett explains why he and other marine experts are calling for a a code of conduct for ocean conservation to ensure that local communities benefit from newly created marine reserves.
BY DIANE TOOMEY • JUNE 1, 2017
Yale Environment 360
In a provocative paper released last month, an international group of marine conservation experts called for the creation of a code of conduct for their profession to ensure that the rights of local people are not trampled as the number of marine protected areas grows worldwide. The two-dozen scientists and conservationists proposed what they called a Hippocratic Oath for marine conservation, which would involve local people in the establishment of marine protected areas, would create mechanisms for conflict resolution, and would ensure equitable distribution of benefits from marine reserves.
The lead author of the paper, published in the journal Marine Policy, is Nathan Bennett, a geographer and postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Bennett describes the backlash to what some communities view as “ocean grabbing” by conservation organizations, discusses why working closely with local people will pay environmental dividends in the long run, and explains why the need to develop a set of ethical standards for creating marine reserves is urgent.
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