Focus Areas

ELI’s Ocean Program works on ocean and coastal governance challenges at local, regional, and international scales. Please click through below to explore our recent work in our core areas of focus.

Gulf of Mexico Restoration and Recovery

Since 2010, ELI has worked to support effective restoration and recovery in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. There are multiple government-led processes ongoing that seek to help the region rebound from the impacts of the disaster as well as decades of development throughout the region. ELI’s goal is to support effective restoration and recovery by helping individuals, communities, organizations, and decision-makers understand the different components of the processes, their purposes and potential impacts, and how to engage in them.


Fisheries and Aquaculture

ELI works to strengthen the legal and management frameworks needed for sustainable management of wild and farmed fish and shellfish resources. Whether focused on fisheries enforcement, offshore aquaculture policy, marine protected area management, or other topics, our work helps rebuild depleted stocks, ensures that fishing and aquaculture do not harm habitats or ecosystems, and preserves livelihoods over the long term both in the United States and around the world.


Managing Arctic Offshore Resources

Our work in the Arctic focuses on supporting and strengthening the role of Alaska Natives in offshore resource management processes.  Coastal communities stand to be most affected by changes to the offshore environment and their leadership and extensive knowledge of individual resources and of the ecosystem as a whole is essential to the success of efforts to protect and sustainably use Arctic marine resources.  We work to identify how relevant statutory, regulatory, and policy structures can be improved to ensure Alaska Native input is robustly incorporated into decision-making.


Ocean Seminar Series

The annual Ocean Seminar Series seeks to bring together ocean law, policy, and science experts to discuss emerging and persistent challenges to the ocean and coasts. Since 2006 the goal has been to expand awareness about the importance of marine conservation and preservation and understanding of key issues. Each seminar features a panel of experts from government, nongovernmental organizations, industry, the scientific community, and/or private practice, who provide a diversity of viewpoints and identify the complexities of the challenges faced.


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Marine protected areas afford a unique opportune to protect living and nonliving marine resources, though managing and implementing MPAs comes with many challenges. Through our assessment of state and local authority for marine protected areas, ELI is working to enhance marine protected area management in the United States.


Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM)

A critical need for effective ocean governance is to manage areas and ecosystems comprehensively, accounting for the interconnections between and amongst resources and activities.  To address the cumulative impacts of multiple activitis across space and time, ELI has worked extensively on the development and implementation of ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning, both domestically and internationally.

(Note: when you click on the link below, you will be redirected to our project page at

               MSP & EBM

Ocean Industry and Energy

To work toward more environmentally sound management of our oceans, ELI develops law and policy recommendations to reduce user conflict and ensure coordination and cooperation in a multi-use ocean environment. Our work proactively addresses offshore energy development, assures appropriate environmental safeguards for ocean uses, and provides guidance and accountability mechanisms for marine environmental damages.

(Note: when you click on the link below, you will be redirected to our project page at