About the Environmental Law Institute

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is an internationally recognized independent research and education organization.  Since 1969 it has served as a non-partisan source of information about environmental law, policy, and management.  ELI fosters innovative, just, and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to make environmental, economic, and social progress.  The Institute does this by building the capacity of decision-makers and leaders, researching and analyzing pressing environmental challenges, bringing together diverse groups of people to build shared understanding, and disseminating information online and in print.  We do not litigate
or lobby.

About ELI’s Ocean Program

The ocean acts as a critical life-support system for the planet and its people, yet human activity threatens it and the myriad services it provides. The Ocean Program strives to counter this by promoting smart and effective ocean conservation decisions and designing place-based and practical solutions.

ELI’s Ocean Program supports ocean and coastal management systems that are based on local priorities, inclusive and effective processes, and best available information. The Program focuses on supporting regional ocean management, achieving sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and creating effective frameworks to managed ocean industry and energy.  Visit the Ocean Program online to learn more about our ocean and coastal projects.

ELI’s Coastal and Marine Planning Team


Xiao Recio-Blanco
Director. Ocean Program
(202) 939-3863

Xiao Recio-Blanco is a Staff Attorney and Director of the Ocean Program. He has conducted legal research on the regulation of small-scale fisheries in developing nations, the implementation of Marine Spatial Planning, the negotiation of maritime boundaries agreements, the creation of transboundary Marine Protected Areas, and the regulation of ocean renewable energy.

Before joining ELI, Xiao was an attorney at Banco Santander in Madrid (Spain), and an Associate Professor of International Law at CIDE (Mexico City). He was also a Visiting Attorney at Earthjustice in the District of Columbia. He holds a J.D. from the Complutense University of Madrid, and a S.J.D. from Duke University School of Law.


Jay Austin
Senior Attorney
(202) 558-3103

Jay Austin, Senior Attorney, has been at the Environmental Law Institute since 1992. He has worked extensively on the Institute’s water and ocean projects, including studies of ecosystem-based management, coastal and marine spatial planning, wetland mitigation, nonpoint source pollution, and Western water issues. He graduated with honors from the University of Virginia School of Law, and and served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Michael Boudin in US District Court for the District of Columbia.

RocheDavid Roche
Staff Attorney
(202) 939-3804

David Roche is a Staff Attorney at ELI. He joined ELI in 2013 as a Public Interest Law Fellow. David works with the Ocean Program on regional ocean and coastal governance issues, with an emphasis on supporting coastal community health and resilience in the U.S. Arctic and Gulf of Mexico. David holds a JD magna cum laude from Duke University School of Law, an MA in Environmental Science from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and a BA with honors in Environmental Science from Columbia University.