WASHINGTON (Jan. 6, 2012)--Today Rare, in partnership with National Geographic, announced the grand-prize winner and runners-up of "Solution Search: Turning the Tide for Coastal Fisheries." Through online voting at www.solutionsearch.org, the public voted for their top three solutions. The Wildlife Conservation Society won the grand prize with its solution, "Bycatch Escape Gaps for Fish Traps" in Curaçao and Kenya. It received a U.S. $20,000 prize to support its conservation and resource management initiative. The two runners-up, Off the Hook Community Supported Fishery and the Misool Baseftin Foundation, each received prizes of U.S. $5,000 for their respective solutions, "Fresh. Fair. Fish." in Canada and "Defending the Heart of Marine Biodiversity: Community Stewardship of Raja Ampat's Reefs" in Raja Ampat. The winners will receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 8.
This first-ever global Solution Search sought applications from organizations worldwide with demonstrated innovations that benefit coastal communities and marine ecosystems. More than 100 applications were received from 48 countries, from which a panel of expert judges selected 10 finalists, with the public choosing the winners. Solutions submitted for the contest included the implementation of no-take zones, introduction of innovative fishing gear and the development of alternative livelihoods. Submissions came from across the globe, including Indonesia, Madagascar, Brazil and Turkey.
"For too long the conservation community has focused on problems," said Brett Jenks, president and CEO of Rare. "But there are a lot of working solutions in remote parts of the planet. These finalists, and particularly the winners, prove just that. By sharing their solutions with the world, they are improving conservation everywhere."
"Discovering and sharing solutions that restore marine life and human communities is key to changing the broader world of fishing and seafood," said Miguel A. Jorge, director of National Geographic's Ocean Initiative. "By telling the stories of these win-win innovations, we hope to inspire more people and communities to transform their relationship with the ocean."
Platform sponsors are the Goldring Family Foundation, the Barr Foundation and the Cedar Hill Foundation. Judges for the contest were Steve Gaines, professor of ecology, evolution and marine biology, and director of the Marine Science Institute at the University of California at Santa Barbara; Carl Safina, president of the Blue Ocean Institute; Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity; Eileen de Ravin, program manager of the Equator Initiative at the United Nations Development Programme; Enric Sala, marine ecologist and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence; Monique Barbut, CEO and chairperson of the Global Environment Facility; and Nicolas Gutiérrez, fisheries scientist with the Marine Stewardship Council. To read all entries, please visit www.solutionsearch.org.
Rare recognizes that conservation ultimately comes down to people, so conservationists must become as skilled in social change as in science. Rare specializes in designing and implementing social marketing campaigns to change behaviors of people who live in and around the world's areas of highest biodiversity. Based in Arlington, Va., with offices in Mexico, China and Indonesia, Rare searches the globe for replicable, sustainable environmental success stories and then trains local conservation leaders to develop and market those proven practices in order to protect imperiled species without compromising basic human needs. www.rareconservation.org.
About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world's largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to "increase and diffuse geographic knowledge," the Society's mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. National Geographic reflects the world through its magazines, television programs, films, music and radio, books, DVDs, maps, exhibitions, live events, school publishing programs, interactive media and merchandise. National Geographic magazine, the Society's official journal, published in English and 33 local-language editions, is read by more than 60 million people each month. The National Geographic Channel reaches more than 380 million households in 37 languages in 163 countries. National Geographic Digital Media receives more than 19 million visitors a month. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geography literacy. www.nationalgeographic.com.