Rick moved over to DSN from his blog Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice & Sunsets, where he wrote extensively on ocean science and conservation issues since 2006. Rick is a coral reef ecologist, conservationist, and ocean policy specialist with over three decades of experience in creating and expanding marine protected areas, organizing public support for conservation measures, and helping local coastal communities solve environmental challenges. He has a particular focus and interest in the intersection of conservation and marine tourism. Having witnessed the decline of coral reefs during his lifetime, Rick has become a passionate advocate on the role of sustainable tourism as a lever for coral reef conservation. Rick has followed the growth of shark dive tourism as a global industry and has assisted governments and stakeholders in establishing stronger legislative protections for sharks as an investment in shark dive tourism potential. He also recently led the team of local advocates across the state of Hawaii in building public support for the successful expansion by President Obama of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
With a belief and expertise in collaborative solutions, Rick has brokered partnerships across governments, corporations, NGOs, private sector, and local communities to arrive at pragmatic solutions to complex environmental problems. He is principal and founder of Pelagia Consulting and Sustainable Shark Diving. In 2013, he was awarded the Oris/Scuba Diving Magazine Sea Hero of the Year Award in recognition of his achievements in ocean conservation.