Protecting the Ocean We Need - Securing the Future We Want

Meet the HSA Staff

Peggy Kalas - Director

Peggy Rodgers Kalas coordinates the work of the High Seas Alliance, where she focuses on organizing coalition efforts at the United Nations and in regional capitals to obtain a new international treaty for the conservation and protection of marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction.  An international environmental lawyer for over 25 years, Peggy practiced international and domestic environmental law at major law firms, was the Editor-in-Chief of the Maryland Journal of International Law, and has authored numerous articles on environmental issues.  From 2005-2011, Peggy also served as the UN Coordinator of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, orchestrating efforts at the United Nations to obtain a resolution at the UN General Assembly limiting deep sea bottom trawling in international waters (UNGA 61/105).  Peggy holds a Bachelors from University of Notre Dame, a J.D. (with Honors) from the University of Maryland School of Law, and an LL.M. in International Law from New York University School of Law, and is currently based in New York City. As a native Floridian, the ocean has been a deep source of inspiration for as long as she can remember. 

Travis Aten - Program Associate

Travis Aten is the newly hired Program Associate for the High Seas Alliance, where he focuses on aiding the Alliance in its pursuit of a new internationally legally binding instrument to protect biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. Travis holds an undergraduate degree from St. Thomas University in international relations and anthropology and a Masters in Marine Management from Dalhousie University where his research focused on the international management of migratory species in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Prior to working for the Alliance, Travis was the Marine Conservation Officer at the Ecology Action Centre where worked on establishing effective area-based management measures within Canada with a view towards ensuring that Canada reaches its commitment to Aichi Target 11 of 10% marine protection by 2020. Travis currently lives in Halifax, Canada where he gets to see the beautiful Atlantic Ocean every day. 

HSA Steering Committee

Duncan Currie

Duncan Currie advises the High Seas Alliance on international law and policy matters. Duncan is a practicing international and environmental lawyer. He holds an LL.B. (Hons.) from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and LL.M. from the University of Toronto in Canada. He has practiced international law and environmental law for over thirty years. His work is now focused on oceans issues. Duncan has attended every BBNJ meeting since 2006 and he attends fisheries meetings – particularly the South Pacific RFMO (SPRFMO) and Southern Indian Ocean RFMO (SIOFA) from their formation – focused on protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems from bottom fishing. He also has attended the International Seabed Authority since 2012. 

Susanna Fuller

Susanna Fuller currently works as a Senior Project Manager for Oceans North, focusing on community based marine conservation initiatives in Atlantic Canada and the Canadian Arctic. Susanna has been a member of the Steering Committee of the High Seas Alliance since 2014, and coordinated the work of the Alliance between 2012-2014. Additionally, she is a board member of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and Ecotrust Canada.Susanna is a PhD. from Dalhousie University on the biogeography and impacts of fishing on deep water sponges in the North Atlantic. She has worked in the science policy interface for the past 15 years, largely in fisheries and marine conservation and in Canada as well as in international fisheries fora, including regional fisheries management organizations. She has also worked on market based solutions to sustainable seafood, focusing on financial incentives and promotion of local seafood as well as credible eco-certifications, largely through the Canadian SeaChoice program. Her favorite place to be is on or near the ocean, while her family, garden and bicycles all provide a welcome distraction from the environmental challenges that face our ocean. 

Kristina Gjerde

Kristina M. Gjerde is Senior High Seas Advisor to IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme, adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California and a steering committee member for the High Seas Alliance. Kristina received her JD from New York University School of Law with a focus on comparative and international law.  For almost 30 years, Kristina has worked on the progressive development of public international law relating to the marine environment, including the high seas and international seabed Area. In addition to leading IUCN’s delegation at numerous international ocean meetings, Kristina has co-founded multiple cross-disciplinary initiatives and co-authored more than 150 publications. 

Liz Karan

Liz Karan leads Pew’s work to protect ocean life on the high seas, a global effort to safeguard marine life that falls outside the jurisdiction of any country. The current patchwork of rules and regulations provide little oversight and no method to fully safeguard these special places. She previously worked on several other international marine initiatives at Pew, including aquaculture reform, global shark conservation, and Southern Ocean protections. Liz currently serves as a member of the High Seas Alliance Steering Committee. 

Dan Laffoley

Dan is a well-respected world leader on Marine Protected Areas and ocean conservation. Scientist, communicator, explorer and conservationist, at IUCN he is Marine Vice Chair for IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, and Senior Advisor on Marine Science and Conservation in the Global Marine and Polar Programme. For over 30 years Dan has been responsible for the creation of many global, European and UK public and private sector partnerships, alliances and frameworks that underpin modern-day marine conservation. This work includes creating the concept of Blue Carbon, global conservation standards for MPAs, global IT infrastructure engaging with the ocean (e.g. Google Earth and Maps), successful scaling up of action on ocean warming and acidification, successful scaling-up of work on marine World Heritage and conservation of the High Seas (e.g. creation of the High Seas Alliance), creation and implementation of Sylvia Earle’s Hope Spots initiative, and production of various recognized global guides on implementing Marine Protected Areas, and on Marine Spatial Planning. 

Lance Morgan

Dr. Lance Morgan (California, USA) is a marine biologist and president of Marine Conservation Institute. As president he oversees their largest initiatives, the Global Ocean Refuge System and the Atlas of Marine Protection - MPAtlas.org. Growing up as a son of a US Navy submarine captain, Lance learned about and became deeply committed to conserving our living oceans while living in California, Hawaii and Washington. Lance received his Master’s in Marine Science from San Francisco State University. His doctoral research explored factors influencing recruitment of marine invertebrates, for which he received his PhD in Ecology from the University of California-Davis (1997). His research interests range from zoology to conservation science and he has studied taxa as diverse as deep-sea corals, rockfishes, seabirds and marine mammals. He has explored the ocean as a SCUBA diver, aquanaut and submersible pilot, participating in DeepWorker surveys of deep-sea corals in British Columbia waters. In addition to serving on the High Seas Alliance steering committee, Lance is currently Chairman of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, member of the Hope Spot science council and holds a research faculty appointment at Bodega Marine Laboratory in Sonoma, California. 

Lisa Speer

Lisa Speer directs the International Oceans Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental organization dedicated to protecting natural resources and public health with offices in the United States and China and is a Steering Committee member of the High Seas Alliance. Her work currently focuses on conservation and management of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, and in the Arctic. Lisa’s other major focus is on integrated, ecosystem based management and marine protected areas in the Arctic and has served on the Arctic Council’s MPA expert group since its establishment in 2012. She has served on a number of U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Committees on the Arctic and marine issues, and served a six-year term as a member of the Academies’ Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. Lisa received her Master’s degree from Yale University and her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College. 

Sofia Tsenikli

Sofia Telenski is the Senior Political Strategist at Greenpeace International with 15 years of experience in ocean and biodiversity governance campaigns and is one of the original members of the High Seas Alliance. She works with Greenpeace's Political, Business & Peace team focusing on biodiversity politics, active citizenship and democracy, advancing power-shifting strategies for a green & peaceful planet. Sofia has led Greenpeace's engagement at a number of global and regional fora including the United Nations, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the European Union, Mediterranean Regional Seas & fisheries fora. 

Mirella von Lindenfels

Director and Co-Founder of Communications Inc and the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), Mirella has nearly 35 years’ experience of communications and campaign work in the NGO sector, including senior positions with Greenpeace and Amnesty International.IPSO was created to bring together science and communications to increase our collective understanding of the role of the ocean at an Earth System level. IPSO’s ‘state of the ocean’ reports have changed the way cumulative ocean stressors are understood and the urgency with which they are viewed. Communications Inc specializes in working with NGOs providing strategic development through to delivery and additionally develops marine strategies, programmes of work and projects for funders. Mirella also helped to create the High Seas Alliance, is active on the steering group of several ocean coalitions a member of the Gulbenkian Marine CoLABoration and a visiting lecturer in NGO communications and campaigning.