Our Ecosystem

We stand for making foundational change

To create real change, change that sticks and won’t be soon reversed, you need to identify a fundamental issue that encapsulates the value of the mission – a keystone change that is concrete and tangible, unites the efforts of multiple stakeholders, and paves the way for greater change. Revolutions don’t begin with a slogan – they begin with a cause.
Greg Satell


Based on our learnings from the Philippines and our vast experience working with communities along the Wild Coast, a cornerstone to our blueprint for conservation development is to develop a fundamental understanding of local cultures, practices and traditions.

Embodied in our mission and values, Pelagic upholds the following core principles:

1. Community-Centric Solutions:

At Pelagic, we champion community-centric solutions, recognising the unique needs, traditions, and aspirations of each community we engage with. Our approach involves collaborative decision-making, ensuring that local voices guide the design and implementation of conservation initiatives. By actively involving communities in the process and developing strategies for up-skilling community members, we empower them to become stewards of their environment and forge a sustainable future.

2. Education as Empowerment:

Pelagic firmly believes in the transformative power of education as a means of empowerment. We are committed to extending knowledge and skills not only to community members but to a diverse range of individuals, including conservationists, environmental enthusiasts, school groups, and citizen scientists. Through purposeful educational programs, our goal is to cultivate a profound connection between communities and their environment, instilling a shared responsibility for the well-being of both.

3. Adaptive Collaboration:

Embracing the complexity of environmental challenges, Pelagic advocates for adaptive collaboration. We understand that the conservation landscape is ever-changing, and we actively seek to learn, adjust strategies, and build partnerships with diverse stakeholders. By fostering a culture of flexibility and open-mindedness, we navigate challenges collectively, ensuring our initiatives remain relevant and effective.

4. Holistic Conservation:

Pelagic is committed to a comprehensive and interconnected approach to conservation, reaching beyond immediate environmental concerns to address broader socio-economic factors. We recognize the intricate relationships between environmental well-being, community prosperity, and economic stability. In embracing holistic conservation, Pelagic’s blueprint leads collaborative efforts across communities, academia, government, and citizen scientists. Our approach spans water-focused initiatives to inland projects within natural vegetation. We champion value chain integration and synergies among stakeholders in tourism, agriculture, food, and beverage, marking a new era for conservation with enduring solutions for ecosystems and communities.

5. Human Rights and Environmental Justice:

Guided by a deep commitment to human rights, Pelagic actively opposes injustice and advocates for equity in natural resource management. We believe that every citizen has the right to protection and defense against environmental degradation, resource decline, and natural disasters. Our work is rooted in respect for heritage, ensuring that communities are not only protected but also active participants in preserving their cultural and natural legacy.

Bohol Island, Philippines

Where Nature and Culture Unite
Bohol is a picturesque island province located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines, situated at the heart of the Visayan archipelago. Home to the famous Chocolate Hills, Bohol is one of the most visited destinations in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines and is celebrated for its remarkable blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and environmental wonders. Nestled amidst the tranquil waters of the Bohol Sea, this tropical paradise offers a unique and enriching experience for visitors from around the world.
Bohol has been one of the locations where Pelagic has worked on conservation initiatives. Our projects here aim to protect the fragile ecosystem, foster a harmonious relationship between people and nature, and support local communities in preserving their natural heritage.

From its enchanting landscapes to its captivating wildlife and vibrant culture, Bohol Island continues to be a source of inspiration for those who visit. It’s a place where nature and culture unite, offering an unforgettable experience for all who are fortunate enough to explore its wonders.

Fact Corner

The Coral Triangle is a triangular area in the tropical waters encompassing the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

This area contains at least 500 species of reef building corals in each ecoregion.

Cheers to the Coral Triangle

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Coral Triangle is an area in the western Pacific that includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. The Coral Triangle is home to 75 percent (almost 600) of the world’s coral species, over 2,000 species of reef fish, and six out of seven sea turtle species. The region supports multiple marine mammal species, an important tuna nursery and migration area, and over 120 million people.

The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program understands that successful coral reef conservation cannot be accomplished with domestic activities alone. Coral reef ecosystems around the globe are connected, and face many similar threats. The Coral Reef Conservation Program’s International group serves as the U.S. government’s technical and scientific body for strengthening governance and management capacity worldwide. In particular, NOAA focuses on efforts in the wider Caribbean, Micronesia, the South Pacific, and the Coral Triangle regions.

Image courtesy of Acshay

Coral Reef Conservation Program activities in the Coral Triangle include:

  • Coral Reef Conservation Cooperative Agreements and Grants support local coral reef management capacity building, marine protected area networks, and coral reef monitoring in priority international locations, including the Coral Triangle. In 2019, the program awarded a two-year grant to Conservation International to implement community-managed marine areas and community-managed marine area networks in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
  • The Coral Reef Conservation Fund is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Federation and allows the Coral Reef Conservation Program to award grants for international coral reef conservation activities, including grants for projects in Indonesia and the Philippines from 2018 to 2019.
  • Coral Reef Watch uses remote sensing, modeled, and field data to observe, predict, and report on coral reef environments worldwide, including the Coral Triangle. Coral Reef Watch provides the only global early-warning system of environmental changes that can lead to coral bleaching.
  • The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory collaborated with University of Auckland, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Conservation International, and the University of Miami on a study to select spatial priorities for conserving biodiversity in the Coral Triangle.
  • Since 2009, the Coral Reef Conservation Program has served as NOAA’s point of contact for an agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide scientific services, technical assistance, and capacity-building support to a wide range of national and regional marine and coastal conservation initiatives in Indonesia, Timor-Leste, the Philippines, and the Micronesia region.

The Coral Triangle is one of the most diverse natural areas in the world, and NOAA is working diligently to protect and conserve the region for current and future generations.

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Wild Coast, South Africa

Where Beauty Meets Wilderness
The Wild Coast is a stretch of pristine and unspoiled coastline located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, along the Indian Ocean. Aptly named for its untouched and rugged beauty. It’s a destination where travelers can immerse themselves in the wilderness, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, lush forests, and an endless expanse of sandy beaches.
Within this region, you can find diverse ecosystems, from dense coastal forests to meandering rivers and expansive estuaries. These landscapes provide habitats for various wildlife species, including exotic birdlife. The region is not only a sanctuary for nature lovers but also a land of rich cultural heritage. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the traditions and customs of the local amaXhosa communities,. Engaging with these communities offers an immersive experience.

Pelagic’s work in the Wild Coast aims to conserve and protect the region’s rich natural resources, foster an informed and harmonious relationship between people and the environment, and empower local communities in preserving their natural heritage. The projects implemented and supported by Pelagic Wake ontribute to the overall well-being of the region while ensuring its ecological health and vitality for generations to come.

Fact Corner

Despite its ecological importance, the fauna of the Wild Coast remains poorly studied, with limited knowledge about the biology of its estuaries.

In fact, a substantial portion of estuaries in the region lacks biological or ecological information. Urgent comprehensive surveys are required, especially considering the rising infrastructure developments, including a coastal highway, which may escalate the risk of overexploitation of coastal resources.

Is the Wild Coast in eastern South Africa a distinct marine bioregion?

Candice M. Jooste, Jody Oliver, Arsalan Emami-Khoyi & Peter R. Teske

Helgoland Marine Research volume 72, Article number: 6 (2018)
The South African coastline can be divided into at least four temperature-defined marine bioregions, including the tropical north-east coast, the subtropical east coast, the warm-temperate south coast, and the cool-temperate west coast. There are also two biogeographical transition zones, the south-west coast and the south-east coast (or Wild Coast). The former is sometimes considered a distinct marine bioregion, but no such status has yet been suggested for the Wild Coast. Previous data on the distribution of a recently described but very common coastal crab, Hymenosoma longicrure, indicated that this species could be a Wild Coast endemic. If confirmed, this would be a first indication that this region harbours unique fauna, and that additional research is required to determine whether the Wild Coast constitutes a distinct bioregion that needs to be managed separately from other coastal regions. In the present study, we generated novel genetic data for H. longicrure and compared the species’ range with that of its southern African congeners. We found that H. longicrure occurs north of the Wild Coast, where its range overlaps with that of H. projectum. This finding rejects the idea that the Wild Coast harbours endemic fauna and suggests that the ranges of the two species may be linked to the subtropical and tropical bioregions, respectively, with some southward dispersal facilitated by the southward-flowing Agulhas Current. We conclude that there is as yet no compelling evidence that the Wild Coast is a distinct marine bioregion, and concur with previous biogeographical studies which have suggested that the Wild Coast is an area in which species from the subtropical and warm-temperate bioregions have overlapping ranges. Nonetheless, that fact that no biological information is available for the majority of the region’s estuaries highlights the necessity of comprehensively documenting the biodiversity of this understudied region to fully resolve this issue.

Jooste, C.M., Oliver, J., Emami-Khoyi, A. et al. Is the Wild Coast in eastern South Africa a distinct marine bioregion?. Helgol Mar Res 72, 6 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s10152-018-0509-3