About Us

For the Love of The Ocean

Chris Dorsett

Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs

Austin, TX

Education

  • J.D. University of Texas
  • B.S., Marine Fisheries, Texas A&M University

Areas of Expertise

  • Fisheries management
  • Ocean policy
  • Natural resource law and policy
  • Ecosystem based approaches to natural resource management
  • Ecosystem restoration

Chris has been part of Ocean Conservancy’s evolution since 2002. He oversees the organization’s work on sustainable fisheries and to restore the Gulf of Mexico from the impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster to ensure that our ocean stays healthy and that coastal communities prosper. Chris also plays a pivotal role in shaping Ocean Conservancy’s conservation goals.

Growing up near the Texas coast, Chris spent a lot of time at the beach, or in the water. He loved fishing and watching boats unload their catch, which inspired a deep interest in marine life, particularly fish. Chris was drawn to the challenge of sustainable use of our marine resources, earning his B.S. in marine fisheries and then pursuing a law degree to better understand our nation’s environmental laws and policies and how they are made.

Early in his career, he worked for the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. He verified compliance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act in the removal of decommissioned oil and gas platforms. Typically, in removing the platforms explosives were used. Chris worked to mitigate adverse impacts on dolphins, sea turtles and other species. He also collected data for a study on bycatch associated with the Gulf shrimp fishery.

Over the years, Chris has maintained a deep focus on fisheries sustainability. From 1998-2002, he worked for the Gulf Restoration Network in New Orleans, La., implementing the 1996 changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. In 2002, he joined Ocean Conservancy to help restore depleted groundfish populations, protect deep water corals on the West Coast and ensure sustainable management of marine resources in the Pacific and Western Pacific (Hawaii and island territories). He remained active in national issues as a member of the Federal Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee. In 2005, Chris returned to Texas and in his capacity with Ocean Conservancy has focused his efforts on reforming Gulf fisheries and the recovery of the Gulf of Mexico from the impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

My Ocean Animal

Sargassum fish–They have an amazing ability to blend into its surroundings. They don’t stand out in the crowd and are not very large. Seemingly, they are just along for the ride at the mercy of the currents, but they are an incredibly powerful predator when they move into action.

“Witnessing first-hand the dramatic recovery of U.S. fish populations has been incredibly rewarding. Being part of the effort to make the United States a global leader in fisheries sustainability alongside fishermen, scientists, seafood businesses and ocean enthusiasts has shown me the power of an organization like Ocean Conservancy to secure the political will to develop, adopt and implement the policies that benefit our oceans and those that depend upon them. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate just what a resource we have in sustainable fisheries. One of the most renewable, protein-rich resources, they are truly a key to our world’s food security. We have to get fisheries management right.”

chrisdorsett