Global MSP

Joanna Smith, Ph.D., RPBio
Director Ocean Planning and Mapping
Joanna is the Global Director, Ocean Planning and Mapping in TNC’s Protect Oceans, Lands and Waters global team, and the Global MSP lead at TNC. Joanna provides leadership for the organisation on marine spatial planning (MSP) including strategy, process design, lessons learned, global best practices, zoning methodology, and implementation. Joanna works with governments, stakeholders, academics, NGOs, civil society and local partners to develop holistic evidence-based marine spatial plans. Currently, Joanna is the MSP Process and Science Lead for the Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan Initiative and Global MSP and Conservation lead for the Blue Bonds for Conservation project. Joanna leads the Ocean Planning Mapping team which includes MSP, marine protections, ecosystem services and GIS decision support tools.  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 developing MSP so that the process is transparent and inclusive, and the plans are relevant for the people using them and can be successfully implemented with high levels of support from government and stakeholders. Joanna received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle USA. Joanna is a member of the IOC-UNESCO MSPglobal Expert Group, science advisor to SeaDoc Society and Laskeek Bay Conservation Society, as well as member of technical or specialist groups such as IUCN, UN Global Compact and High Level Panel Ocean Action 2030. E-mail:

Kate Longley-Wood, M.S.
MSP Science Manager
Kate is the MSP Science Manager 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:

Chantal Collier, M.E.M.
Senior Associate
Chantal is a Senior Associate, Ocean Planning & Mapping with TNC’s Protect Oceans, Lands and Waters global team. She is responsible for supporting the development and implementation of sustainable ocean conservation strategies, such as Blue Bonds for Ocean Conservation, and serves as a liaison between TNC’s global team and country-based staff and partners in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa.  Currently, Chantal is providing technical and capacity building support for Belize’s marine spatial planning (MSP) process. Previously, as Director of Marine Systems Conservation for TNC in Connecticut and New York, Chantal was involved in multiple MSP initiatives. She oversaw TNC’s role in the development of enabling legislation and stakeholder engagement for the Long Island Sound Blue Plan, provided technical, planning, and facilitation support as a process co-lead for the Fishers Island Seagrass Management Plan, and served as a subject matter expert for the site selection,  management plan development and designation of the Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve. Before joining TNC, Chantal held leadership roles with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas, the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and the University of California, Los Angeles. She holds a B.S. in Zoology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a M.E.M from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, where she completed her master’s thesis on the collaborative management of Marine Protected Areas. E-mail:

Rian Leung, B.S.
Science Coordinator
Rian is the Global Protect Science Coordinator with The Nature Conservancy’s Protect Oceans, Lands, and Waters global team. She provides administrative and logistical support for Marine Spatial Planning efforts across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions under the Nature Bonds program. Previously, as the Operations Coordinator for TNC’s Global Finance business unit, Rian supported members of the finance management team in the Office of the Chief Finance and Administrative Officer. Rian holds a B.S. from Stony Brook University in Marine Sciences. Email:


Helena Sims, B.Sc.(Adv.)
Seychelles MSP Project Manager
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:

George Maina, M.Sc.
Marine Project Coordinator
George is the Marine Project Coordinator at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Africa Region Program. He works with TNC Global Teams on linking science, policy, and practice to advance fisheries reforms and effective ocean governance in Africa. George also works on conservation and restoration of blue carbon ecosystems, and the role they play in addressing climate change and in providing additional ecosystem services and livelihood benefits. George has been with TNC for 10 years. Email:

Emmanuel Mpina, B.Sc.
MSP Coordinator
Emmanuel is the Marine Spatial Planning Coordinator at the Nature Conservancy of the United Republic of Tanzania. He provides technical support and implementation of the Africa Ocean Protection and Resilience Strategy. Emmanuel works closely with the Africa Fisheries Team, the GIS regional team, the TNC Africa Oceans Strategy, and the Global Oceans Team. He supports the development of the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy for the MSP and Blue Economy and the cultivation of relationships with the government and Blue Economy development partners and donors. Emmanuel oversees the scoping study of the MSP, which includes policy, legal, and institutional analysis, and spatial data. He provides technical advice and scientific support on the development of the National Blue Economy, the Africa Fisheries Strategy, and ecosystem mapping. Emmanuel has diversified knowledge on fisheries-related scientific principles and practices, research, analysis, and writing, capacity building, project cycle management and community-conservation-based projects. He also supports the project implementation of the USAID funded project and fundraising for full MSP and climate change resilience for marine biodiversity conservation. His main areas of interests are in the field of Marine Spatial Planning, Sustainable Blue Economy, blue bonds, blue carbon, fisheries co-management, marine biodiversity conservation, as well as community-based conservation. Emmanuel received a B.Sc. in Aquatic Science and Fisheries and a postgraduate student of GIS and Remote Sensing, both from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Email:


Jamani Balderamos, P.E., M.Sc.
MSP Specialist
Jamani serves as the Marine Spatial Planning Specialist within TNC’s Belize Business Unit, providing crucial technical and process support to the Belize Sustainable Ocean Plan Planning Process. With a background as a Coastal Engineer, Jamani integrates a profound comprehension of marine ecosystems with technical prowess to advance sustainable coastal and marine management strategies. Jamani has played pivotal roles in crafting management plans for areas like the Goff’s Caye Management Area and the Caye Caulker Palapa Gardens, contributing knowledge of coastal protection, shoreline management, coastal morphology, and climate resilience. Leveraging expertise in coastal engineering, GIS mapping, and remote sensing, Jamani adeptly employs technology and data analysis to guide decision-making processes for coastal development and conservation efforts. His skills encompass Flood and Coastal Risk Assessments, Drone Applications in Coral Reef and Coastal Monitoring, and Remote Sensing, enabling him to innovate solutions that tackle the intricate challenges confronting our oceans and coastal habitats

Nidia Chacon
Stakeholder Engagement Specialist
Nidia Chacon is the Stakeholder Engagement Specialist at TNC Belize. She is attached to Belize’s Marine Spatial Plan where she provides guidance and technical support to partners to the development of the Belize Sustainable Ocean Plan adhering to the 4 principles of being participatory, inclusive, transparent and equitable. Nidia’s experience and knowledge of stakeholders started in 2002, when she became the Biologist for Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve. Nidia’s career blossomed as she invested her passion and commitment for the environment and conservation into her work.  Nidia’s professional development and career in stakeholder engagement was enabled by her participation in various projects that helped tp understand communities and livelihoods since she was involved in projects such as promoting the culling of Lionfish invasive species in 10 Communities, working with indigenous fishing communities to adopt Managed Access program, a rights based approach, and supporting 10 livelihood projects in 12 fishing communities during her time with the Marine Conservation Climate Adaptation Project funded by the World Bank.

James Foley, M.Sc.
Oceans Manager, Belize Program
James joined TNC in July 2017 as the Belize Fisheries Specialist, and since December 2022 is now Oceans Manager for the Belize Program. In this capacity he oversees TNC Belize’s Oceans Portfolio, encompassing our respective programs in seaweed aquaculture, fisheries, marine spatial planning and blue carbon. As Fisheries Specialist, he was focused on the implementation of the Belize Spiny lobster Fishery Improvement Project (FIP), development and implementation of TNC’s fisheries electronic traceability program in Belize, and on providing technical and scientific support for fisheries elements of the ResCA climate and food security program in Central America. He also guides research on seaweed mariculture in Belize under TNC’s Belize Mariculture Initiative. Prior to TNC, James was Science Director at the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) in Belize, specializing in research on conch fishery management. He has worked in marine conservation in Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua, and holds an MSc in Tropical Coastal Management from Newcastle University, UK. A British national, he speaks English, Spanish and understands Belizean Creole.


Jenn Burt, Ph.D.
Canada Marine Program Lead
Jenn is the Canada 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:

Global Fisheries

Carmen Revenga
Coastal Fisheries Strategy Lead
Carmen leads the Coastal Fisheries Strategy Lead 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:

Global Aquaculture

Robert Jones, M.S.
Aquaculture Strategy Lead
Robert is the Global Lead of TNC’s Aquaculture Program and is responsible for all program conservation outcomes. The Global Program consists of five multidisciplinary initiatives – Science and Tools for Management, Restorative Seaweed, the Blue Revolution Fund, Low Carbon Future, and the Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration Program – and is responsible for the design, launch and ongoing development of new on the ground aquaculture projects in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa. Robert’s background is aquaculture sustainability, with a focus on offshore aquaculture and international projects. Prior to joining TNC seven years ago, he was the National Program Coordinator for the NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture, where he worked to advance national policy for aquaculture in Federal Waters, and a Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Dept of State, where he focused on international fisheries and aquaculture agreements. He holds a B.A. from Boston College in International Studies. Email:

Heidi Alleway, Ph.D.
Global Aquaculture Scientist
Heidi is the Global Aquaculture Scientist in TNC’s Global Aquaculture program where she leads a science portfolio focused on advancing the organizations strategy on restorative aquaculture and contributes to broader efforts to enhance regenerative food systems and seafood initiatives. Her research experience spans aquaculture, fisheries and fisheries habitat, biosecurity and historical ecology with much of her work having been conducted in an applied setting, working with and for government, industry and communities. This has included spatial planning and development of aquaculture zoning, and supporting policy, regulation, and environmental monitoring and research. Heidi was previously employed for 15 years by the South Australian Government including as the General Manager of Aquaculture overseeing the management and sustainable development of one Australia’s pioneering and most diverse seafood industries. She holds a PhD in Marine Science from the University of Adelaide.Email:

Jonathan MacKay, M.S.
Aquaculture Spatial Scientist
Jonathan is the Aquaculture Spatial Scientist in the Nature Conservancy’s Global Aquaculture team. He performs complex aquaculture site suitability analyses and builds decision support tools to help stakeholders plan for aquaculture development while balancing environmental, social, and economic factors. His work spans marine and freshwater systems worldwide, utilizing a background in GIS and marine and environmental science. Before joining TNC, Jonathan worked with Federal and State governments, non-profits, and start-ups in the aquaculture space. He holds an M.S. in Environmental Science from California State University, Los Angeles, and a B.S. in Marine Science from the University of the South Pacific, Fiji. Email: