Global MSP team 

Joanna Smith, Ph.D., RPBio
Joanna is the Global MSP Lead and Director of Ocean Planning and Mapping in TNC’s Protect Oceans, Lands and Waters global team. Joanna provides leadership for the organisation on marine spatial planning (MSP) including process design, lessons learned, best practices, zoning methodology, and implementation. Joanna works with governments, stakeholders, academics, the public and local partners to build multi-sector science-based marine spatial plans. Currently, Joanna is the lead for process and science for the Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan Initiative and global MSP lead for the Blue Bonds for Conservation project.  Joanna has 12 years of experience in MSP including as Science Coordinator for the Marine Plan Partnership for North Pacfic Coast (MaPP) in Canada and lead for TNC’s MSP science in coastal Washington 2008-2011. Joanna’s work focuses on integrating science, governance, marine sectors, and stakeholder knowledge into MSP so that marine plans are relevant for the people using them and can be successfully implemented. Joanna received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle USA. She is on the Editorial Board for The Skimmer and co-founder of the MSP community listserv on Open Channels.  Joanna serves as science advisor to SeaDoc Society and Laskeek Bay Conservation Society, and is a member of the IOC-UNESCO MSPglobal Expert Group. E-mail:

Kate Longley-Wood, M.S.
Kate is the Ocean Mapping Coordinator in The Nature Conservancy’s Protect Oceans, Lands and Waters global team.  She provides technical and logistical support for MSP efforts in a variety of locations including the Seychelles and Baja, Mexico.  She also provides communication materials on MSP, maintains and builds websites, and assists with a range of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) projects for TNC’s global and regional programs.  As the project and data manager for TNC’s Mapping Ocean Wealth project, she oversees development of web-based ecosystem service mapping tools. For the Seychelles MSP, Kate provides project support for stakeholder input & feedback, meeting documentation, communications materials, and assistance to project management. Previously, she worked as a project manager at SeaPlan, an ocean planning non-profit, supporting ocean planning efforts in the U.S. through spatial data development and stakeholder engagement projects.  Her interest in ocean mapping and planning stems from professional and academic experience in marine mammalogy, ecology, and GIS.  Kate has worked as a right whale aerial observer and researcher in Georgia and Massachusetts, and completed a thesis on the distribution of right whales in Massachusetts Bay.  She received an M.Sc. in Biology from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a B.A. in Biology from Wesleyan University. Kate’s publications include reviews of decision-support tools and developing marine plans in the United States. E-mail:

Jennifer McGowan, Ph.D.
Jennifer is the Spatial Planning Technical Coordinator for TNC’s Global Science team and is responsible for supporting spatial action mapping under the Conservancy’s Shared Conservation Agenda. Jennifer’s work also focuses on the development and uptake of tailored decision-support tools for conservation prioritization and planning. Jennifer has spent the last five years helping countries and NGOs around the world integrate decision-support tools into their biodiversity and conservation strategies.  She advised the spatial planning process which delivered the Coral Triangle’s largest multi-use marine park, Tun Mustapha Park in Malaysian Borneo, and has worked on a diverse range of prioritization problems from the highly contested waters of the Adriatic Sea to the remote seascapes of Papua New Guinea.  Additional information on Our People – Email:

TNC Africa

Helena Sims, B.Sc.(Adv.)
Helena is the Project Manager of the Seychelles MSP in the TNC Africa program. She is responsible for implementing and achieving the MSP initiative by overseeing and representing TNC in relationships with Government agencies, NGO and corporate stakeholders and working closely with the MSP advisory committees. She serves as the secretary to the MSP Steering Committee. She assists in funding proposals, research grants and coordination with other projects. Ms. Sims supports the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).  Ms Sims has work experience in Marine Conservation Biology and Project Management. Upon her return from University she has worked at the Research section at the Seychelles National Parks Authority, as a Project coordinator at the Green Islands Foundation NGO, and managing a 4-year GoS-UNDP-GEF Protected Areas Project.  Ms. Sims received a B.Sc. in Marine Biology Advanced from the James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. Email:

Nature United Canada

Jenn Burt, Ph.D.
Jenn is the BC Marine Program Lead and is responsible for the marine strategies and activities on Canada’s Pacific Coast.  Jenn is a passionate marine ecologist, facilitator, and communicator with expertise in kelp forest ecology, resilience and adaptation in coastal human communities, integrated marine planning, and resource management in linked social-ecological systems. She has been involved in multiple coastal planning initiatives (marine protected area network design, integrated marine planning on BC’s north coast, and an ongoing proposal for a UNESCO biosphere region), which contribute to her interest in how communities, governments, NGOs and industry can work together to achieve better ecosystem-based management. Prior to her PhD, she was the Marine Planning Coordinator at the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society where she worked to strengthen protected area planning, encourage science-based management, and advance many regional marine planning processes. Before that, she obtained a Masters degree in Pacific salmon ecology from UBC, and coordinated marine biology and conservation education programs at the Vancouver Aquarium. Email:

TNC Fisheries

Carmen Ravenga
Carmen leads the Coastal Fisheries Strategy at The Nature Conservancy in the Provide Food and Water global team. The strategy focuses on supporting fisheries reform via the application of FishPath. FishPath is an engagement process for guiding the development of fisheries management strategies in data and capacity-limited situations. The FishPath process is underpinned by a web-based decision support tool that helps users consider the fundamental elements of sustainability for a fishery and offers a suite of options for management strategy development. The FishPath team has been applying FishPath in collaboration with fishing communities, government scientists, and fishery stakeholders around the world. We hope to link FishPath to MSP projects, where appropriate, to help improve the management of coastal fisheries and increase fisheries science and management capacity among key stakeholders. Email:


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