Blue Ventures



Bristol, United Kingdom




Environmental regulation advocacy

Executive Director:

Alasdair Harris

Budget (2021):

Income: £9,823,351

Expenses: £6,828,331 1


  1. “Blue Ventures Conservation.” Register of Charities. Accessed December 9, 2022.

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Blue Ventures is an environmental advocacy group based in Bristol, United Kingdom that focuses on marine and coastal conservation, with an emphasis on regulation of commercial fishing. Much of its policy advocacy involves severely curtailing, or eliminating completely, the use of trawl-fishing. It also works to steer smaller communities away from economic dependence on fishing and implement local monitoring systems to track community fishing in coastal areas. 1

Blue Ventures is a supporter of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which are designed to radically change social, economic, and environmental policies by the year 2030. It is a partner of the United States Agency for International Development. It is also a recipient of funds from MacKenzie Scott Bezos’s multi-billion dollar grant campaign. 2

Policy Advocacy

Blue Ventures is co-founder of the Transform Bottom Trawling coalition. Bottom trawl fishing, the process of dragging weighted nets across the sea floor to harvest fish and shellfish, represents one of Blue Ventures’ main issue areas. Though this method produces the largest proportion of global seafood, Blue Ventures asserts that bottom trawling is destructive, citing disturbances to the sea floor, the accidental capture of sea turtles, and the destruction of coral life as unwanted side effects. 3

The coalition publishes a newsletter and advocates for Inshore Exclusion Zones (IEZ) for smaller fisheries that would prohibit bottom trawling. It also calls for the prohibition of bottom trawling in any larger protected areas outside IEZs, and a moratorium on any expansion of the practice into any unfarmed areas unless an environmental impact study of the region is conducted first. 4


Blue Ventures is a founding member of the MIHARI network of Madagascar fishing communities. MIHARI, which stands for Mitantana Harena and Ranomasina avy eny Ifotony (marine resources and management at the local level) consists of 64 fishing management groups representing more than 150 communities across Madagascar. This group establishes local fishing laws and oversees designation of previously free fishing areas as “protected” spaces where no fishing may take place. Its 2015 report lists the closing of fisheries, restriction of certain fishing gear, and alternative aquaculture such as sea cucumber farming as “management tools.” This group receives funding from the left-of-center John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 5

Blue Carbon Program

Because plants ingest and store carbon dioxide as part of their respiration processes, Blue Ventures seeks to harness the power of mangrove trees, seaweed, and the plant life of saltmarshes to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. This use of marine flora to control carbon dioxide levels, styled “blue carbon,” is the basis of a 2019 Blue Ventures global project to plant and sustain more mangrove tree forests. The Tahiry Honko (preserving mangroves) project seeks to plant and preserve mangrove habitats on shorelines across Madagascar. This project is funded by the UK government and the Macarthur Foundation. 6


Blue Ventures is an advocate of the global environmentalist initiative known as 30×30 which seeks to designate 30 percent of the world’s space as “protected” by the year 2030. Its position paper on the 30×30 goals acknowledges that past large-scale efforts of this kind have been failures and have resulted in expulsion of indigenous peoples from their land in the name of “conservation.” 7

For this reason, it claims that part of its advocacy involves “free, prior, and informed consent” of indigenous communities, and that these communities have the right to reject the 30×30 goals and should be allowed to refuse to have their lands designated as “protected areas.” To this end, it also advocates for “robust grievance mechanisms” for indigenous fishing communities, and the mandated issuance of regular reports tracking the policy impact on these groups in protected areas. 8

Gender Equality

Blue Ventures holds “women-only discussion spaces” and encourages the election of female representatives to regulatory committees and pushes for “gender inclusive policies and practices” as part of its conservation advocacy. 9


Alasdair Harris is the founder and executive director of Blue Ventures. 10


  1. “2015-2016 Annual Repot & Accounts.” Blue Ventures. Accessed December 5, 2022.
  2. Scott, MacKenzie. “Helping Any of Us Can Help Us All.” Medium. March 23, 2021. Accessed December 5, 2022.
  3. “Trawling Impacts.” Transform Bottom Trawling. Accessed December 5, 2022.
  4. “What We are Calling For.” Transform Bottom Trawling.” Accessed December 5, 2022.
  5.  “MIHARI.” Blue Ventures. Accessed December 5, 2022.
  6. “Communities in Madagascar Launch the World’s Largest Mangrove Carbon Conservation Project.” Blue Ventures. October 1, 2019. Accessed December 5, 2022.
  7. “30×30 and Traditional Fishing Communities.” Blue Ventures. Accessed December 5, 2022.
  8. “30×30.” Blue Ventures. Accessed December 5, 2022.×30/
  9. “Gender Equality.” Blue Ventures. Accessed December 5, 2022.
  10. “Alasdair Harris.” Blue Ventures. Accessed December 5, 2022.
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