Project Seahorse is proud of making measurable gains in marine conservation, resulting in a portfolio of notable honours and awards for the team and its leaders.
We are delighted that such recognition comes because of our contributions to a mixture of active front line conservation, innovative scholarship and excellent outreach ventures.
Practical conservation always comes first for Project Seahorse. Our successes originate in the first agreement between the co-Founders Amanda Vincent, Heather Koldewey and Helen Stanley. Their joint memo when establishing Project Seahorse in 1994 read “When we must make decisions, we will always prioritise the option that produces the greatest conservation gain.”
Our Director, Amanda Vincent, was the first biologist to study seahorses underwater, executed the first trade surveys on seahorses, and developed the first field conservation programme for seahorses.
These early firsts set the stage for what was to come. For example, Project Seahorse generated the first global export regulations on marine fishes, the first formal scrutiny of how such regulations were being implemented for any marine fish and the first export ban for any marine fish because of failures to ensure sustainability.
If we consider the Project Seahorse scheme for marine conservation we find success stories at all layers of the onion world such as the following:
- completing IUCN Red List assessments;
- generating 35 marine protected areas;
- building alliances of subsistence fishers;
- fostering new national legislation;
- driving global export regulations;
- inspiring worldwide community science.
Project Seahorse ventures succeed because we are willing to be bold, make decisions and recommend options for action. We plunge in once we have knowledge to offer, while always working to learn more. Happily, all our initiatives have held up, under scrutiny, for decades.
Achieving outputs, outcomes… and impacts
Part of the Project Seahorse success lies in appreciating the difference between outputs, outcomes and impacts. We have a record of producing great outputs, in the form of analyses, presentations and trainings. But we are far more interested in conservation outcomes, when other people engage with our work and embrace it to create new protected areas, new management protocols, new policy initiatives.
The dream achievement is, of course, impacts, when we discover that there are more fish in the sea and healthier habitats in the ocean because of our outputs and outcomes. Project Seahorse has managed to provoke some genuine impacts, particularly with our protected areas, and are always focused on creating more such wins. Then we really know we are making a vital difference.