Mary Dixon – 347-840-1242; mdixon@wcs.org

John Delaney – 718-220-3275jdelaney@wcs.org

Jason Patlis Hired as Executive Director of WCS Marine Conservation Program

Bronx, NY (November 1, 2016) Jason Patlis, a leading marine policy expert, has been hired to head the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Marine Conservation Program, which has projects in more than 20 countries around the globe.

Jason most recently served as the President and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF), the non-profit partner to the U.S. national marine sanctuary system. He oversaw NMSF's efforts to strengthen the nation’s marine sanctuaries through fundraising, communications, conservation, advocacy, and education.

Said WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper: “We know Jason will be a great leader for us. He has worked for many years on the frontlines of marine conservation at the local and international level. He joins hundreds of WCS scientists and conservationists who are working with our Global Conservation Program across the world and at the New York Aquarium ensuring our world’s oceans and marine wildlife are protected.”

Prior to NMSF, Patlis was the Vice President and Managing Director for U.S. Government Relations at WWF. He has worked in both houses of the U.S. Congress, including as Deputy Staff Director for the House Science Committee, and as Majority Counsel on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He served in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of General Counsel handling issues relating to the Endangered Species Act. He currently serves as a member of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee.

Patlis spent nearly six years living in Indonesia working on natural resource law and governance, beginning with a Fulbright Scholarship, and continuing to work as a legal expert for the World Bank, US Agency for International Development, and other clients. His efforts helped pave the way for the establishment of Indonesia’s first national law on coastal management enacted in 2007.  Patlis received his J.D. from Cornell University School of Law and his B.A. from Haverford College.

Said Patlis: “WCS is a global leader in marine conservation, and with new efforts locally, nationally and globally to protect and sustain critical marine resources and ecosystems, this is a particularly exhilarating moment in time to join the organization. In recent weeks, we have seen exciting announcements from President Barack Obama to establish the largest MPA in the world, and by world leaders to protect sharks and rays from illegal trade – actions which underscore the increasing attention given to the world’s marine resources. I am honored to be leading WCS’s global marine conservation program toward a healthy ocean for generations to come.”

Patlis joins WCS as new marine conservation efforts are underway.

Just recently, at the Our Oceans Conference at the U.S. Department of State, WCS joined the Waitt Foundation, the blue moon fund (bmf), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to announce a major commitment to expand the world’s marine protected areas (MPAs). WCS, the Waitt Foundation and bmf together committed a minimum of $15 million to the WCS MPA Fund, which will support MPA expansion and creation efforts in countries where WCS works. The GEF committed an additional $33 million to projects that expand or improve the effectiveness of MPAs in line with countries' commitment to their 2020 targets. And at the WCS New York Aquarium, WCS is building a magnificent new exhibit, Ocean Wonders: Sharks! which will be an educational center about oceans and marine wildlife around the world and specifically put an emphasis on the New York Bight, where WCS is conducting research on whales, sharks and other marine life.

Background on the WCS Marine Conservation Program:

With several hundred marine scientists and conservationists on staff, and programs in more than 20 countries, WCS tests and applies innovative solutions for measurable ocean conservation outcomes. WCS focuses its efforts where they are needed most: areas that hold the greatest biodiversity and aggregations of marine wildlife and where current capacity for conservation is in need of critical support. WCS seeks to safeguard 90 percent of global coral species, reverse the decline of sharks and rays, and steward the recovery of marine mammals. WCS seeks to rebuild local fisheries by ending overfishing of fragile coastal ecosystems and supporting measures that increase fisheries biomass and catch. WCS also aims to support the expansion of marine protected areas to cover 10 percent of the world's oceans by 2020. Finally, WCS inspires millions to take action for the oceans each year through the New York Aquarium and associated programs.


About the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US nonprofit, tax-exempt, private organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. With long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. WCS was the first conservation organization with a dedicated team of wildlife veterinarians and other health professionals deployed around the world. The WCS Wildlife Health Program focuses on problem-solving at the wildlife / domestic animal / human health and livelihoods interface, as underpinned by a foundation of environmental stewardship. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.