Rick MacPherson is founder and principal of Pelagia Consulting, amongst other work he is Senior Policy Advisor to The Pew Charitable Trusts Global Shark Conservation Campaign in the Caribbean
Pelagia Consulting was launched in 1997 as a California-based ocean science and education think tank providing aquariums, museums, and informal science centers with exhibit research, writing, and content development. It has evolved into an ocean science and conservation consultancy with a global portfolio and mission to measurably improve marine protected area (MPA) effectiveness and build community support for MPAs. Rick was formerly Director of Conservation for the Berkeley based non-profit, The Coral Reef Alliance.
Rick is a marine ecologist, conservationist, and science writer with nearly 30 years of experience. He has worked worldwide in field-based tropical marine science and coral reef conservation, marine protected area planning and management effectiveness, community-based conservation, science education, informal learning, and creating learning networks and evaluation strategies to support durable conservation outcomes.
Rick is a passionate advocate and thought leader in ocean conservation, Rick’s interests cover issues that blend ocean science, marine protected area (MPA) management, sustainable tourism, financial planning for protected areas, and informal education. He looks at the linkage between scientific and social analyses and the policy decision process; implications of differences between biological scales and social scales in MPA design; and evalulation and assessment of conservation effectiveness. His work attempts to define collaborative strategies for marine conservation and improved MPA management based on peculiarly marine processes and human uses, rather than on a transfer of strategies based on terrestrially derived concepts and social structures.
As a PADI certified diver for over 35 years, he has witnessed the decline of coral reefs during his lifetime. In response, Rick has become a passionate advocate and thought leader on the role of sustainable tourism as a lever for coral reef conservation.
Achievements have included development of the world’s first standards for scuba diving, snorkeling, and boating; designer of the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Marine Tours for the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and founder of the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative–the longest-running sustainable tourism project in the Americas. With a belief and expertise in collaborative solutions, Rick has brokered partnerships across governments, corporations, NGOs, private sector, and local communities to arrive at pragmatic solutions to complex environmental problems.
In 2013, he was awarded the Oris/Scuba Diving Magazine Sea Hero of the Year Award in recognition of his achievements in ocean conservation.