Celebrating Earth Day with The Surf Conservation Partnership

On this Earth Day we celebrate and highlight our partnership Conservation International with the launch of the new partnership website and significant progress toward the goals of the partnership. The Surf Conservation Partnership (SCP) is an unprecedented strategic alliance between Conservation International and Save The Waves to protect the world’s best waves and the incredible marine and coastal ecosystems that surround them. 

As SCP Program Director Scott Atkinson says about his motivation for the partnership, “My whole life has been around conservation and, what I realized through years of protecting forests and ocean ecosystems, it’s most successful where people are most passionate, enthusiastic and motivated to protect these places. As a surfer, seeing and being a part of the community, I realized how surfing could be used to transform the way we implement conservation. Meeting STW and seeing their work, and adding the CI reach and scientific expertise seemed like an incredible way to make this happen. Conservation includes people and the most passionate people are also the ones who are protecting the places they love.”

The ambitious goal behind the SCP is to bring 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) of marine and coastal ecosystems under conservation, protect 300 waves, and improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of people through the creation of 20 Surf Protected Area Networks. We have made tremendous progress in creating the first 11 Surf Protected Area sites in Morotai, Indonesia, and are sowing the seeds for more in Bali, Sumba, and Biak. We are thrilled to be using this model to expand our work in Costa Rica and Fiji at a rapid rate.

The work is guided by a new study published in Frontiers of Marine Science, led by the Surf Conservation Partnership and Dr. Dan Reineman at CSUCI. In the study, Reineman and our team from the Partnership examined 3,700 surf locations around the world, provided by the global surf forecasting company Surfline, Inc., and cross-matched them to areas with biologically diverse marine and coastal ecosystems. Many surf breaks were located in “key biodiversity areas” and not legally protected from activities that could damage them. 

 “We found that of many thousands of surf breaks around the world, 76% are in biodiversity hotspots, and more than a quarter are in key biodiversity areas, and are not currently in marine protected areas,” Reineman said. “So, protecting these surf breaks has a biodiversity benefit, too—and vice versa.”

To learn more about Save The Waves’ work in the SCP visit www.surfconservation.org

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