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Alasdair Harris and Blue Ventures

Alasdair Harris, OW, has recently been featured in the Daily Telegraph in a substantial article about his work in Madagascar, which challenges the accepted wisdom of marine conservation with a combination of sea cucumber farming and family planning.

Dr Harris was a pupil at Wilson's some seventeen years ago before he went to the University of Edinburgh.

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At about this time he organised a trip to Madagascar to survey coral degradation in the Indian Ocean. The charity Blue Ventures, which Dr Harris co-founded with Tom Savage, a friend from Edinburgh, was founded in 2003. Their model was to fund conservation by running gap-year expeditions. They initially charged £1,500 for six weeks, including full board, scientific training and a diving course. (The price is now £2,500.)

He is critical of traditional marine conservation and is sceptical about the efficacy of Marine Protected Areas as currently constituted, preferring an approach that involves working more closely with people who live on tropical coasts and for whom the sea is a lifeline. Dr Harris intends to extend the Blue Ventures model to south-east Asia, east Africa and the Pacific and, closer to home, he would also wish to work with the industrial fishing communities in Britain.
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