Open to the Public

Two speakers from Oceana, on left Ashley Blacow-Draeger dressed warmly in white against a white-grey ocean, and on right, Geoff Shester dressed warmly in blue against a blue glacier
Ashley Blacow-Draeger, Oceana Pacific Policy and Communications Manager and Geoff Shester, Ph.D., Oceana California Campaign Director and Senior Scientist.           

  (Credit: Photographer Jason Bradley )

The oceans face a gauntlet of threats which are becoming more complex with a changing climate. 

From Deep Sea Corals to Whales:  Oceana Conservation Success in the U.S. Pacific

Speakers: Ashley Blacow-Draeger, Oceana Pacific Policy and Communications Manager and Geoff Shester, Ph.D., Oceana California Campaign Director and Senior Scientist

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

6:00pm to 7:00pm Pacific Time

Online via Zoom (details below)

About the Topic

The oceans face a gauntlet of threats which are becoming more complex with a changing climate. Oceana looks at the major problems facing the oceans and analyzes the science and data underlying those problems to determine what policies are needed to meet our objective of a healthy and abundant ocean. As a campaign-based advocacy organization, Oceana uses science, economics, law, public engagement targeted at key decision-makers to strategically achieve durable policy victories at the state and federal level. This talk will describe Oceana’s approach, with a focus on recent case studies of in-the-water changes achieved to protect deep-sea coral habitats from destructive fishing practices and prevent whale and sea turtle entanglements in fishing gear.

About the Speakers

Ashley Blacow-Draeger, Oceana Pacific Policy and Communications Manager

Ashley is the Pacific Policy and Communications Manager for Oceana based in Monterey, California.

She focuses on the intersection of policy and public engagement to protect and restore biodiversity within the California Current Ecosystem off the U.S. West Coast. In this role, she campaigns to protect habitat, address overfishing, reduce fishery bycatch, protect threatened and endangered species, and curb plastic pollution.

Prior to joining Oceana in 2010, her experience includes positions as an environmental planner, teacher, and Sea Grant Fellow with the California Natural Resources Agency.

She holds a B.S in Aquatic Biology and a minor in Professional Writing from the University of California Santa Barbara and a M.A. in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Geoff Shester, Ph.D., Oceana California Campaign Director and Senior Scientist

Geoff is Oceana’s California Campaign Director based in Oceana’s Monterey office and working with Oceana’s Pacific Team. 

After completing a double major in Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Geoff Shester interned for the Exxon Valdez Restoration Office in Anchorage, Alaska and then landed his first big job at Oceana’s first field office located in Juneau, Alaska in 2002.

He earned his doctorate in the Stanford University Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources out of Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, studying the interplay between marine ecology and the economics of small-scale fisheries in Baja California. He was the Senior Science Manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program from 2008-2010, where he led a team of scientists responsible for evaluating the sustainability of hundreds of types of wild and farmed seafood.

Since coming onboard at Oceana in 2002, he co-authored and advocated for proposals that ultimately led to the largest suite of seafloor habitats protected from trawling in North America, totaling over 1,000,000 square miles of marine protected areas from the Mexican border to the Arctic. He also served as the Expedition leader and co-leader for Oceana’s U.S. West Coast undersea expeditions in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2016, which gathered footage of never-before-seen seafloor habitats with remotely operated vehicles.  He currently works on Oceana’s US West Coast campaigns to implement ecosystem-based management of forage fish, protect seafloor habitats from bottom trawling, and reduce fisheries bycatch. 

Recommended Reading

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The Center for the Blue Economy is a research organization at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.  Our mission is to promote a sustainable ocean and coastal economy (the “Blue Economy”) through leadership in research, analysis, and education.  For questions contact: Rachel C. at or visit or call 831-647-4183 (must leave message and receive call back).