Enric Sala: Saving the World’s Oceans


Dr. Enric Sala is a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, dedicated to restoring ocean health and productivity. Sala combines exploration, scientific research, and strategic communications to help create large marine national parks with new business models for ocean conservation. He advises governments and organizations. His more than 100 scientific publications are widely recognized and used for conservation efforts, and he was instrumental in the creation of some of the largest marine reserves in the Pacific and the Caribbean. 

Interviewed by CNN, he explains: “What we’re doing is hard to do almost anywhere in the world. We’re seeing large fish and sharks in almost every dive. People could spend years in, say, the Caribbean and see less sharks than we can in just one single dive. This latest trip has been a really, really special experience. It’s so wild and we expected to see healthy reefs but not like this.” [He is referring to reefs in New Caledonia, but he has done similarly extensive work in the Caribbean.


Description (from the Pew Environmental Initiatives Program): Dr. Enric Sala is a marine ecologist who fell in love with the sea growing up on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Witnessing the harm people do to the oceans led him to dedicate his career to understand and find ways to mitigate human impacts on marine life. After obtaining a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Aix-Marseille, France, Enric moved to the U.S.A., where he worked for ten years at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In 2006 he became a Scientific Researcher at the Spanish National Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), and in 2008 a National Geographic Fellow. Combining work at both institutions, Enric is actively engaged in research, exploration, and communication of scientific knowledge related to the conservation of marine ecosystems. Enric is currently leading the Ocean Now expedition at National Geographic, where he and his team are studying the entire marine ecosystem of the southern Line Islands.


Enric’s research aims at providing the essential amount of information needed for policy change. His research includes an important exploration component, searching for the last healthy marine ecosystems that can give us an understanding of the past and the present that can be used to inform the future. His present goal is to help protect the last pristine marine ecosystems worldwide. He spends a great deal of time diving in many locations, including the Caribbean, the Sea of Cortés, the Mediterranean, and remote Pacific islands. His scientific publications are widely recognized and used for real-world conservation efforts such as the creation of marine reserves.

Enric is a 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, a 2007 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and a 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He also received the 2006 Prince of Asturias Award to Communication and Humanities with National Geographic. Enric’s experience and scientific expertise contributes to his service on scientific advisory boards of international environmental organizations.

For more information, see http://www.pewenvironment.org/research-programs/marine-fellow/id/8589941819, http://www.weforum.org/young-global-leaders/enric-sala/index.html?link=no, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/bios/enric-sala/ and full article at http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/05/sport/enric-sala-national-geographic/

[Photo credits, in order of appearance: 1) from National Geographic via CNNhttp://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/05/sport/enric-sala-national-geographic/; 2) photo by Brian J. Skerry from National Geographic: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/05/sport/enric-sala-national-geographic/; and 3) photo from http://www.pewenvironment.org/research-programs/marine-fellow/id/8589941819.]


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