A Voice for Our Ocean

Ocean Conservancy announces new leadership for expanding ocean plastics portfolio

Doug Cress to oversee organization’s Trash Free Seas® program as Vice President for Conservation

WASHINGTON, DC – Ocean Conservancy is pleased to announce the appointment of Doug Cress as the Vice President, Conservation (Trash/Plastic). Cress will oversee Ocean Conservancy’s growing Trash Free Seas® program, which includes the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and the International Coastal Cleanup, among other initiatives.

“We’re excited to have Doug bring his strategic vision to Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas® program in this new role,” said Ocean Conservancy CEO Janis Searles Jones. “With 8 million metric tons of plastic entering our ocean every year, this is a huge problem that calls for creative solutions. We look forward to having Doug’s leadership in crafting new and innovative strategies to advance science-based conservation.”

Cress brings over two decades of conservation, sustainable development and global policy experience to the role. Prior to joining Ocean Conservancy, Cress served as the CEO of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), where he oversaw the adoption of sustainability policies at institutions from more than 55 countries. Cress also worked as a Program Coordinator at the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya, where he focused on illegal wildlife trade, endangered species and sustainable development goals.  Earlier, he spent nine years as Executive Director of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), the partnership of chimpanzee and gorilla rehabilitation centers across Africa.

“Ocean Conservancy has been a leader in combatting ocean plastic pollution for more than three decades and I look forward to working with the organization’s many experts on this critical issue,” said Cress. “I’m thrilled to be a part of #TeamOcean.”

Ocean Conservancy has led the fight for a clean, trash-free ocean since 1986, when the organization launched its first annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) on a beach in Texas. Since then, the ICC has expanded to over 150 countries and has mobilized millions of volunteers to remove more than 315 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways around the globe, all the while logging each item and building the world’s largest database on marine debris.  The 35th anniversary of the ICC will take place this September, with cleanups happening throughout the month.

Recognizing that cleanups alone will not solve the growing ocean plastic crisis, Ocean Conservancy has leveraged that data and invested in additional science to better understand the sources of ocean plastic. In 2012, Ocean Conservancy launched the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, uniting conservationists, scientists and members of the private sector to work together for pragmatic, impactful solutions to the problem, such as the launch of Circulate Capital and Urban Ocean. In 2019, Ocean Conservancy assumed leadership of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative® to reduce the amount of lost and abandoned fishing gear entering the ocean and engage fishers on best practices.


About Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.