My name is Lydia Koehler. I am an experienced and passionate marine scientist, and ocean advocate. While marine conservation is certainly a main focus of my work, I also understand the economic importance of various marine activities and livelihood dependencies.
I have been working in marine conservation for more than 10 years, including five years in the Mediterranean region. Starting, of course, with a formal education in marine science, I graduated with a Master of Science in Marine Biology in 2011. Since then, I continuously grew from role to role and gained not only more experience in the field but also continued my education, in formal and less formal ways. Education never stops and can be brought to you through success and failure, or formal lectures. While success and failure present themselves in life, I chose to continue my formal education and received a Master in Ocean Governance with summa cum laude in 2014; a degree developed under the cooperation of the International Ocean Institute (IOI) with the European Commission, Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES.
Regarding my work experience, the first position I held was the one as field station research assistant for a small non-governmental organisation in Egypt. While conducting reef surveys and leading marine biology courses, I supervised small teams and supported ongoing research work. This was only the first step in what would become a conservation career that eventually brought me to marine policy and management. I have worked as marine biologist in Maldives, Reef Check project leader in Brunei Darussalam, lead scientist for a shark-focused NGO, and Environmental Protection Officer for a governmental entity in Malta. During the latter, I was part of the project management team of an EU-funded LIFE project that led to the designation of eight marine protected areas, for which I subsequently developed conservation objectives and measures.
My work involved various tasks including stakeholder engagement, report writing, data mapping in ArcGIS, social media updating, website management, as well as financial administration. I have written legal amendments, drafted convention reports and reports to the European Commission, communicated with convention secretariats, published scientific papers, drafted memoranda of understanding, created social media entries and online articles. I became what some might call “an expert” in marine conservation policies, conservation management, and policy implementation for marine fauna and habitats. Through this work, I have developed not only a strong interest in marine policy but a passion for the application and development of law. A passion which I am currently following through this PhD project that focuses on fisheries management and conservation aspects related to sharks.
Fisheries, fisheries management, and marine conservation cannot be separated. With overfishing being one of the main threats to marine ecosystems and vulnerable species, the management and sustainability of fishing activities need to be streamlined with and complementary to conservation efforts. While certainly livelihoods depend on fisheries, the livelihoods and economic security of all countries depend on the health of marine ecosystems.
All images, logos, pictures are owned by L. Koehler, if not indicated otherwise.