Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation Announces the Appointment of a New Board Member

Mar. 27, 2015 – WILMINGTON, Del. —The Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF), a Delaware-based marine conservation nonprofit, today announced the appointment of Jonathan Tourtellot to the organization’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. Mr. Tourtellot’s appointment expands the existing Board to 8 directors.

“Jonathan’s many years with the National Geographic Society and broad experience in sustainable tourism, destination stewardship and science communications will add a valuable perspective to our Board of Directors,” said Jennifer Pitzer, Managing Director of MOSF.  “We appreciate his willingness to serve as a director and look forward to benefitting from his judgment and counsel.”

After 22 years as a senior writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Mr. Tourtellot founded and directed National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations in 2001. He originated the concept of geotourism, defined as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” Mr. Tourtellot is the Geotourism Editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine and continues to address numerous national and international groups, including the U.N. World Tourism Organization, UNESCO, and the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Mr. Tourtellot helped the U.S. Travel Association develop the 2002 study Geotourism: The New Trend in Travel, a landmark survey of American traveler behavior and attitudes about issues of sustainability. In his capacity as geotourism editor for Traveler magazine, he has written on such topics as climate change, nature tourism, and heritage travel. He is a two time winner of the prestigious Lowell Award, presented by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation and in 2011, Traveler magazine won the prestigious World Tourism Award for his geotourism initiatives.

Mr. Tourtellot joins MOSF’s existing Board of Directors:

  • Armin Afsahi, Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni and Community Engagement at the University of California, San Diego
  • Kim Brown is a business owner, serial entrepreneur, consultant, and author. Kim and her family are current sailing around the world on a 56’ Oyster sailboat.
  • Shilpi Chhotray is a Manager of Stakeholder Engagement at Future 500 in San Francisco, California
  • B.R. McConnon, III, founder, Chairman, and CEO of DDC Advocacy, an international full-service advocacy firm in Washington, D.C.
  • David Pitzer, Senior Vice President and COO of Frederick Mutual Insurance in Frederick, Maryland
  • Dr. Tiffany Moisan, Research Physical Scientist in the Hydrological Sciences Lab at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Wallops Island, Virginia
  • Rosemarie Watkins, retired, former Director of International Policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C.

About the Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation

Founded in 2013, the Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF) is dedicated to the advancement of marine conservation and sustainability projects. MOSF engages in market-driven, tourism centric programs that balance ocean health, human prosperity and emphasize marine stewardship. We establish geotourism and citizen science activities, which sustain or enhance the geographic well being of a destination, emphasize the culture and history of the area, and benefit both visitors and residents. For more information, please visit our website at:


See the actual press release online.

Proposed Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve

Have you ever heard of the Pitcairn Islands? As an ocean lover, I was surprised that I had never heard of this amazing chain of islands in the southern Pacific Ocean; their closest neighbor, New Zealand, is a distant 2,800 miles (4,500 kilometers) away.pitcairn-island-location-on-map240x180 A British Overseas Territory, humans only inhabit one of the four islands and the waters surrounding them are teaming with fish, marine mammals, turtles, and pristine coral reefs. Boasting some of the clearest seawater in the world, the remote location of this area has helped keep it protected and allowed sea life to thrive.

Since early 2011 the Pew Environment Group’s Global Ocean Legacy project has been working with the Pitcairn islanders on the idea of establishing a large-scale marine reserve within their waters. In March of 2012, the National Geographic Society and Global Ocean Legacy teamed up to perform a scientific expedition to Pitcairn and surveyed the underwater landscape. Following this expedition, the islanders of Pitcairn joined with the Pew Environmental Trust and the National Geographic society to call upon the British government for the establishment of a large highly protected marine reserve within the exclusive economic zone (the area of ocean from the shoreline out to 200 nautical miles) of the Pitcairn Islands.

sharksandcoralHome to the two southern most coral atolls, the deepest, well-developed coral reef in the world, and two known active hot spots of biological richness, Pitcairn is of great interest to marine and conservation scientists. Despite the fact that researchers have only just begun to explore this area, they have already identified 1,249 marine species. This population includes 22 species of whales and dolphins, 2 sea turtles, 365 species of fish, and 48 marine species already classified as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened.

If approved, the Pitcairn marine reserve would be the largest highly protected marine reserve in the world encompassing over 834,000 square kilometers. As a large no-take reserve, the local population would be able to continue the low impact traditional sustenance fishing that they do today, but large commercial fishing would be restricted. The local economy would likely benefit from the increased interest in scientific research, conservation, and tourism. Last month, the Deputy Mayor of Pitcairn visited London in order to champion their cause, they returned home with high hopes that the British government will endorse the proposed marine reserve area.


Copyright © The PEW Charitable Trust

A beautiful video on the Pitcairn marine reserve.