top of page
Image by Seyiram Kweku

Equitable Ocean Governance

Project Description

We have seen a rapid increase in the diversity of ocean uses and threats, including living marine resource overexploitation, industrialization (e.g. seabed mining), pollution, and a suite of impacts from climate change. We have observed a parallel growth of international interest in the ocean as a key element of the global sustainable development agenda—characterized by a focus on knowledge, collaboration, and the formation of alliances between diverse actors and institutions of environmental governance. Maturing global sustainability efforts and increased attention on the ocean as a provider of solutions for climate change, provide a unique platform of opportunities for this new era of ocean governance.

In this context, our research on ocean governance explores the following topics:

-       Challenges and opportunities for governance in the “Anthropocene Ocean” – a new paradigm of sustainable development for the ocean, where crosscutting themes like climate change, conservation, pollution, and fisheries intersect and are viewed through a lens of equity and justice.  

-       Socioeconomic outcomes of Marine Protected Areas: How (can) we better integrate people in growing calls for conservation of 30% of the global ocean by 2030?

-       Equity considerations within narratives of the Blue Economy:  Can this market-based solution to global environmental problems be equitable across ocean stakeholders?


Nexus Ocean Program



Ricardo Antonio De Ycaza Carretta

Ricardo’s research explores the consequences of global, regional, and national marine policies on small-scale fishing communities (SSFCs) under the emerging Blue Economy movement. Using a mixed methods approach, Ricardo compares Blue Economy narratives, crafted by international leaders in the public and private sector, to policy implementation at the local level. The research aims to better understand how SSFCs are impacted by the Blue Economy movement and explore if pervasive narratives match the daily reality of coastal fishing communities.


  • Spalding, A. K., & de Ycaza, R. (2020). Navigating Shifting Regimes of Ocean Governance: From UNCLOS to Sustainable Development Goal 14. Environment and Society, 11(1), 5-26.


Risako Sakai 

Risako (Risa) identifies herself as an Okinawan/Uchinanchu/Loochooan woman. She is a fourth year PhD student (ABD) in Applied Anthropology on the traditional territory of the Chepenefa ("Mary's River") band of the Kalapuya, majoring in Applied Anthropology with a minor in Risk and Uncertainty Quantification in Earth Systems at Oregon State University. Dr. Ana Spalding is on her committee, and she is her mentee as an international woman of color. Dr. Spalding helped her conduct an internship with Nexus, through the University of Washington.

bottom of page