Working at the intersection of science and policy, Enric Sala searches for the last pristine marine environments on Earth — and brings back data to help governments protect them.
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.
Sala’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. One of his present goals is to help protect the last pristine marine ecosystems worldwide. His scientific publications are widely recognized and used for real-world conservation efforts such as the creation of marine reserves. He is leading a global marine conservation initiative at National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.
“Most of the reefs [around Christmas Island] are dead, most of the corals are dead, overgrown by algae, and most of the fish are smaller than the pencils we use to count them.”
“What we have now — a world without [marine] reserves — is like a debit account where we withdraw all the time and we never make any deposit. Reserves are like savings accounts.”