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John E. Parks

Marine resource management for a secure future


Designing and implementing marine resource management solutions that strengthen both environmental and civil security in coastal communities throughout the world.

Professional Experience

Nov 2010Present

Owner and Executive Member

Marine Management Solutions LLC

Honolulu, HI

Marine Management Solutions (MMS) works with local communities, indigenous leaders, resource users, government agencies, non-governmental groups, and donors to design and implement marine resource management solutions that strengthen both environmental and civil security within coastal communities around the world.

Client services provided by MMS include: (1) Developing sustainable marine resource livelihoods in post-conflict/civil unrest settings; (2) Capacity building for fisheries collaborative management and community-based marine conservation; (3) Capacity building in the design, planning, and evaluation of marine protected area (MPA) sites and networks; (4) Capacity building for climate change adaptation in coastal communities; (5) Measurement of management effectiveness and conservation impact; (6) Facilitation of agency/organization strategic planning, program development, and project design; and (7) Conducting applied, interdisciplinary research.

Core principles guiding the work of MMS include: (a) Active community involvement and participation in local management and decision-making, including by disenfranchised/marginalized stakeholders; (b) A collaborative management approach to reduce conflict, encourage peace and order, and promote the rule of law; (c) Local empowerment that encourages self-determination, well-being, and community resilience; (d) Ethnic, gender, religious, and intergenerational equity to ensure all voices are heard and full, relevant experience and knowledge is applied; and (e) A rigorous commitment to critical analysis and objectivity to provide the most useful solutions.

Current and past clients include: Big Ocean (global); the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation (U.S. Pacific Islands); Conservation International (global); the Coral Triangle Initiative (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste); EcoAdapt (Pacific Islands); Hawaii Conservation Alliance (Hawaii); Liberia Ministry of Agriculture, Bureau of National Fisheries (Liberia); Locally Managed Marine Area Network (Fiji); Malama Maunalua (Hawaii); Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (CNMI); Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (Hawaii); State of Hawaii, Division of Aquatic Resources (Hawaii); Tetra Tech ARD (Southeast Asia; Pacific Islands); National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (U.S.); The Nature Conservancy (Hawaii); The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (Japan; global); Tonga Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forests, and Fisheries (Tonga); The University of Washington (global); U.S. Agency for International Development (Southeast Asia); U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S. Pacific Islands); and World Wildlife Fund (global).

Nov 2008Oct 2010

Senior Advisor

The Nature Conservancy

Honolulu, HI

Position Level: Director 1

Chapter Office: Hawaii

Program: Community-based Marine Conservation

Primary Responsibilities:

(1) Marine program management, including: (a) guidance and oversight of staff (5 direct reports; 9 total staff); (b) financial management and grants administration; (c) program and staff performance management; and (d) external and internal technicalreporting. Reported to the Senior Director of Hawaii's marine team(both community-based marine and research and science programs).

(2) Day- to-day advising and guidance to staff on community-based marine conservation projects around Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island. Included leading team in strategic project planning, development of effectiveness measures, and the provision of on-site technical assistance to local project partners and community groups.

(3) Management of marine program fundraising efforts, including prospective funding partnership strategy development, grant writing and submission, and donor relationship development and maintenance. Raised US$5.2 million in program funding in 2 years, including a US$3.4 million award made under the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that cleared 26 acres of invasive algae for coral reef restoration and created/supported 80 jobs.

(4) Provision of technical assistance, upon request, to TNC Offices and partners in Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, including in support of the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, the Micronesia Challenge, and the Palau Conservation Society.

Received the highest level of staff performance evaluation ratings possible throughout duration of responsibilities.

Oct 2004Oct 2008

Federal Officer

U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Honolulu, HI

Title: Coastal Management Specialist for the Pacific Islands

Level: GS-12 Step 3 (federal civil service)

Line Office: National Ocean Service

Duty Stations: Honolulu, Hawaii and Silver Spring, Maryland

Primary Duties:

(1) Served as lead federal government representative on the implementation of the national Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (Pub.L. 92-583, 86 Stat. 1280; 16 U.S. Code § 1451-1464, Chapter 33) within the U.S. Pacific Island jurisdictions of the State of Hawaii, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Territory of Guam. Supported coastal resource management efforts on behalf of the U.S. government within the three Freely Associated States of Micronesia: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

(2) Served as the designated federal grants management officer charged with oversight and management of > US$8 million in annual, active federal award funding provided (via Congress) to the U.S. Pacific Island jurisdictions in support of new and ongoing coastal resource management programs and coral reef management projects. Coordinated financial management accounting and reporting with the U.S. Treasury Department on behalf of NOAA's Coastal Programs Division with respect to coastal management grants made to the U.S. Pacific Islands. Completed all required federal grants management and procurement training associated with the duties of the federal position.

(3) Built international marine and coastal resource management capacity on behalf of the U.S. government in the Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, China, Fiji, Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam, upon invitation by international governmental and non-governmental partners.

Received the highest level of staff performance evaluation ratings possible throughout duration of duties. Was awarded a formal commendation of merit within service record.

Jun 2002Sep 2004

Marine Research Associate

Community Conservation Network

Honolulu, HI

Served as a researcher and project manager. Seconded from the World Resources Institute through a collaborative research agreement.

Primary research projects:

(1) Investigation into the role of collaborative fisheries management for reducing fisheries conflict and civil unrest in coastal communities in Southeast Asia.

(2) Conceptualization, design, and initiation of the Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) Network in order to test the conditions under which community-based and collaborative marine resource management works best, and why.

(3) Development, pilot site testing, and promotion of measures designed to evaluate the management effectiveness of marine protected areas (MPAs) through the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.

(4) Investigation into the small-scale aquaculture of coral reef and live rock as an alternative livelihood for reducing wild extraction and fishing pressure on coral reef ecosystems in Southeast Asia.

Oct 1999May 2002

Research Associate

World Resources Institute

Washington, DC

Served as a researcher within the Biological Resources Program.  Raised US$7.5 million in grant funding for research projects and collaborating partner institutions and organizations.

Primary research projects:

(1) Investigation into the role of collaborative fisheries management for reducing fisheries conflict and civil unrest in coastal communities in Southeast Asia.

(2) Conceptualization, design, and initiation of the Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) Network in order to test the conditions under which community-based and collaborative marine resource management works best, and why.

(3) Development, pilot site testing, and promotion of measures designed to evaluate the management effectiveness of marine protected areas (MPAs) through the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.

(4) Investigation into the small-scale aquaculture of coral reef and live rock as an alternative livelihood for reducing wild extraction and fishing pressure on coral reef ecosystems in Southeast Asia.

Sep 1995Sep 1999

Program Officer

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Washington, DC

Served as program staff (both Program Officer and Senior Program Officer) and field-based on-retainer consultant within the USAID-funded (US$120 million) Biodiversity Support Program, within WWF's Research and Development Division (later, renamed "Conservation Science").  

Worked as the South Pacific Officer within the Biodiversity Conservation Network, a grants-based program designed to systematically test hypotheses relating to using an enterprise approach for community-based conservation projects throughout the Indo-Pacific region.  Worked closely with program partners on marine conservation projects in Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji.  Led field-based capacity building efforts to design and implement biological and socioeconomic monitoring and evaluation efforts at community-based conservation projects throughout the Indo-Pacific, in support of programmatic hypothesis testing efforts.  Managed multiple small (< US$200 thousand) and large (US$250 thousand to $1.0 million) project awards to conservation grantees.  

Sep 1994Aug 1995

Project Assistant

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Honiara, Solomon Islands

Worked within the Community Resource Conservation and Development (CRCD) Project of the Solomon Islands Country Programme at WWF-South Pacific. Based out of the CRCD Field Office in Marovo Lagoon, Western Province, Solomon Islands.  Organized and trained community conservation officers on coral reef and marine invertebrate monitoring, and led a community volunteer team in the comparative evaluation of key marine resource populations between non-protected (open) and traditionally-protected ("tabu") marine areas, in support of the design and implementation of community-based marine protected areas.



Masters in Marine Affairs and Policy

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Field of Study (dual focus): marine anthropology and tropical marine ecology

Master’s thesis: “Community-Based Marine Resource Management in the South Pacific: A Case Study in the Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands.” All thesis research was completed while living in the Solomon Islands, as part of an integrated conservation and development project.

Non-thesis related research conducted:

(1) Research assistant (Bimini, Bahamas) - Capture, tag, and release of Negaprion brevirostris (lemon shark) for territoriality and home range telemetry studies. Conducted upon invitation by Prof. Samuel H. Gruber, Bimini Biological Research Station.

(2) Biological survey (Haiti) - Completed a rapid ecological assessment and characterization of coral reef, seagrass, and lagoon ecosystems off the coast of southern and northern Haiti. Conducted upon invitation by the Cabinet Particulier du President Aristide, and in partnership with l'Institut de la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National.

(3) Marine archaeological dive survey expedition (Haiti) - Completed pre-disturbance surveys of undocumented 18th and 19th century historic shipwreck sites off southern and northern Haiti. Conducted upon invitation by the Cabinet Particulier du President Aristide, and in partnership with l'Institut de la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National.

(4) Marine archaeological dive assistant (South Florida) - Execution of pre-disturbance underwater survey and deployment of a marine videography GIS system on the H.M.S. Copenhagen. Conducted upon invitation by the State of Florida.


Bachelors of Science

University of Miami 

Field of Study (dual focus): behavioral science and marine biology


Big Ocean and WCPA-Marine (primary author). In press. Guidelines for the Design and Management of Large-scale Marine Protected Areas. IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.

Bennet, Nathan, Maery Kaplan-Hallam, Terre Satterfield, Lydia Teh, Yoshitaka Ota,  Patrick Christie, Adam Ayers, Jonathan Day, Phil Franks, David Gill, Rebecca Gruby, John N. Kittinger, J. Zachary Koehn, Nai‘a Lewis, John Parks, Marjo Vierros, Tara S. Whitty, ‘Aulani Wilhelm, Kim Wright, Jaime A Aburto, Elena Finkbeiner, Carlos Gaymer, Hugh Govan, Noella Gray, Rebecca M. JarvisIn review. "An appeal for a code of conduct for marine conservation." Submitted to Marine Policy.

Christie, Patrick, Nathan Bennett, Noella Gray, ‘Aulani Wilhelm, Nai‘a Lewis, John Parks, Natalie Ban, Rebecca Gruby, Lindsay Gordon, Jonathan Day, Sue Taei, and Alan Friedlander. In review. "Why People Matter in Ocean Governance: Incorporating Human Dimensions into Large Scale Marine Protected Areas." Submitted to Marine Policy.

Mascia, M.B., Fox, H.E., Ahmadia, G.N., Glew, L., Basurto, X., Craigie, I., Geldmann, J., Gill, D., Holst, S., Jensen, O.P., Lester, S.E., McConney, P., Mumby, P.J., Nenadovic, M., Parks, J.E., White, A.T. In review. “Analyzing conservation impacts: evaluation, theory, and marine protected areas.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: The Year in Ecology and Conservation Biology.

Pomeroy, Robert, John Parks, Karina Lorenz Mrakovcich, and Christopher LaMonica. 2016. "Drivers and impacts of fisheries scarcity, competition, and conflict on maritime security." Marine Policy. Vol. 67: 94-104.

Pomeroy, Robert, John Parks, Kitty Courtney, and Nives Mattich. 2016. "Improving marine fisheries management in Southeast Asia: Results of a regional fisheries stakeholder analysis." Marine Policy. Vol. 65: 20-29.

Pomeroy, R., J. Parks, K. Reaugh-Flower, M. Guidote, H. Govan, and S. Atkinson. 2015. "Status and priority capacity needs for local compliance and community-supported enforcement of marine resource rules and regulations in the Coral Triangle region." Coastal Management. Vol. 43, Issue 3: 301-328.

Wilhelm T. A., Sheppard C. R. C., Sheppard A. L. S, Gaymer C. F., Parks J., Wagner D., and Lewis N. 2014. "Large marine protected areas – advantages and challenges of going big." Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. Vol. 24, Issue S2: 24–30.

Fox, Helen E., Jed l. Holtzman, Kelly M. Haisfield, Catherine G. McNally, Gonzalo A. Cid, Michael B. Mascia, John E. Parks, and Robert S. Pomeroy. 2014. "How Are Our MPAs Doing? Challenges in Assessing Global Patterns in Marine Protected Area Performance." Coastal Management. Vol. 42, Issue 3: 207-226.

Toonen, Robert J., Wilhelm, T. Aulani, Maxwell, Sara M., Wagern, Daniel, Bowen, Brian W., Sheppard, Charles R.C., Taei, Sue M., Teroroko, Tukabu, Moffitt, Russell, Gaymer, Carlos F., Morgan, Lance, Lewis, Naia, Sheppard, Anne L.S., Parks, John E., Friedlander, Alan M., and the Big Ocean Think Tank. 2013. "One size does not fit all: The emerging frontier in large-scale marine conservation." Marine Pollution Bulletin. 77(1-2): 7-10.

Flower, K.R., Atkinson, S.R., Brainard, R., Courtney, C., Parker, B.A., Parks, J., Pomeroy, R., & White, A. 2013. Toward ecosystem-based coastal area and fisheries management in the Coral Triangle: Integrated strategies and guidance. Jakarta, Indonesia: Coral Triangle Initiative Support Program for the U.S. Agency for International Development. 110 pages.

Parks, J., R. Pomeroy, H. Govan, and M. Guidote. 2013. Local Compliance and Community-supported Enforcement of Coastal Resource Rules and Regulations in the Coral Triangle: Status of Efforts and Recommendations to Build Capacity. The Coral Triangle Support Partnership and the United States Coral Triangle Initiative. Jakarta, Indonesia. 93 pages.

Big Ocean (contributing author). 2013. Big Ocean: A Shared Research Agenda for Large-Scale Marine Protected Areas. Big Ocean Network. Honolulu, HI. 19 pages.

Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (lead editor). 2012. Ola Nā Papa i Mālama ‘Ia. A Practical Plan for the Technical and Cultural Restoration of Maui’s Coral Reefs. The Maui Nui Marine Resource Council and the Maui Coral Reef Recovery Team. Kehei, Maui. 127 pages.

NOAA and UNEP (co-lead author). 2012. The Honolulu Strategy: A Global Framework for Prevention and Management of Marine Debris. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Washington, D.C. 50 pages.

Parks, J. 2011. “Adaptive Management in Small-scale Fisheries: A Practical Approach.” Pages 93 - 114 in Pomeroy, R. and Andrew, N., editors, Small-scale Fisheries Management: Frameworks and Approaches for the Developing World. CAB International. Oxfordshire, UK. 247 pages.

Govan, H., Aalbersberg, W., Tawake, A., and Parks, J. 2008. Locally-Managed Marine Areas: a guide to supporting community-based adaptive management. The Locally Managed Marine Area Network and the University of the South Pacific. Suva, Fiji. 64 pages.

Pomeroy, R., J. Parks, R. Pollnac, T. Campson, E. Genio, C. Marlessy, E. Holle, M. Pido, A. Nissapa, S. Boromthanarat and N. T. Hue. 2007. “Fish Wars: Conflict and Collaboration in Coastal Fisheries Management in Southeast Asia.” Marine Policy. 31(6): 645-656.

WCPA/IUCN. (contributing author). 2007. Establishing Marine Protected Area Networks: Making It Happen – A guide for developing national and regional capacity for building MPA Networks. Non-technical summary report. The World Conservation Union (IUCN). Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K. 16 pp.

Pomeroy, Robert S., John E. Parks, and Cristina M. Balboa. 2006. “Farming the Reef: Is aquaculture a solution for reducing fishing pressure on coral reefs?” Marine Policy. 30(2): 111-130.

Pomeroy, R. S., L. M. Watson, J. E. Parks, and G. A. Cid. 2005. “How Is Your MPA Doing? A Methodology for Evaluating the Management Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas.” Ocean and Coastal Management (48): 485-502.

Pomeroy, R. S., J. E. Parks, and L. M. Watson. 2004. How Is Your MPA Doing? A Guidebook of Natural and Social Indicators for Evaluating Marine Protected Area Management Effectiveness. The World Conservation Union (IUCN). Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K. xvi + 216 pp.

Kusumaatmadja, R., J. Parks, S. Atkinson and J. Dierking. 2004. “Toward MAC Certification of Hawaiian Islands Collectors: A Project Update.” SPC Live Reef Fish Information Bulletin #12 – February 2004. Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). Noumea, New Caledonia. Pgs 26 - 28.

Parks, John E., Robert S. Pomeroy, and Cristina M. Balboa. 2003. “The Economics of Live Rock and Live Coral Aquaculture.” In Cato, James and Christopher Brown eds., Marine Ornamental Species: Collection, Culture, and Conservation. Iowa State Press, Inc., Des Moines Iowa. Pages 185 - 206.

Agardy, T., P. Bridgewater, M. Crosby, J. Day, P. Dayton, R. Kenchington, D. Laffoley, P. McConney, P. Murray, J. Parks and L. Peau. 2003. “Dangerous Targets? Unresolved Issues and Ideological Clashes Around Marine Protected Areas.” Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 13(4).

Parks, John, Ghislaine Llewellyn, Ian Dutton, and Robert Pomeroy. 2002. “Building the Capacity of Those Who Do the Work.” In Best, B. A., R. S. Pomeroy, and C. M. Balboa eds., Implications for Coral Reef Management and Policy: Relevant Findings from the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium. United States Agency for International Development. Washington DC. Pages 66 - 70.

Burke, Lauretta, Elizabeth Selig, and Mark Spalding. (Contributing Author). 2002. Reefs at Risk in Southeast Asia. The World Resources Institute. Washington DC, USA.

Tawake, Alifereti, John E. Parks, Pio Radikedike, William Aalbersberg, Veikila Vuki, and Nick Salafsky. 2001. “Harvesting Clams and Data: Involving Local Communities in Implementing and Monitoring a Marine Protected Area.” Conservation. 2(4): 32 - 35.

Salafsky, N., H. Cauley, G. Balachander, B. Cordes, J. Parks, C. Margoluis, S. Bhatt, C. Encarnacion, D. Russell, and R. Margoluis. 2001. “A Systematic Test of an Enterprise Strategy for Community-Based Biodiversity Conservation”. Conservation Biology. 15(6): 1585 - 1595.

Parks, J. E., and N. Salafsky, editors. 2001. Fish for the Future? A Collaborative Test of Locally-Managed Marine Areas as a Fisheries Conservation and Resource Management Tool in the Indo-Pacific Region. The World Resources Institute. Washington DC, USA.

Salafsky, N., B. Cordes, J. E. Parks, and C. Hochman. 1999. Evaluating Linkages between Business, the Environment, and Local Communities: Final Analytical Results from the Biodiversity Conservation Network. Biodiversity Support Program, World Wildlife Fund. Washington DC, USA.

Aalbersberg, W. G., J. E. Parks, D. Russell, and I. Korovulavula. 1999. “In Search of a Cure: Bioprospecting as a Marine Conservation Tool in a Fijian Community.” In Patterns in Conservation: Linking Business, the Environment, and Local Communities in Asia and the Pacific. Biodiversity Support Program, World Wildlife Fund. Washington DC, USA. Pages 15 - 31.

Parks J. E., 1997. “The Utility of Using Participatory Aquatic Resource Transect (PART) Techniques across Freshwater and Nearshore Marine Ecosystems in Community-based Conservation Efforts.” In: Hickey, K. L. and D. Kantarelis, eds., Our Natural Environment: at a Crossroad. Proceedings of the Third International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment. Interdisciplinary Environmental Association, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Pages 219 – 232.



Invited Expeditionary Member, Holo i Moana Research Cruise

NOAA Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

Invited expeditionary team member on the "Holo i Moana" interdisciplinary research cruise through the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands aboard the NOAA R/V Hi‘ialakai (R-334).



Environmental Leadership Program

National Fellowship Class of 2002-2004


Official Delegate, United States of America

APEC Fisheries Working Group

Invited by the federal government to serve as a member of the official U.S. Delegation on the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Fisheries Working Group.


World of Difference Award

World Wildlife Fund

"Outstanding Employee" award given by the Board of Directors to recognize staff who have made "significant contributions toward WWF's mission".


Award of Academic Excellence

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami

Award given for "academic excellence achieved during graduate study and research". 



Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami

Fellowship awarded for "Graduate Study in the Marine and Atmospheric Sciences".