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Waitt Institute Welcomes Program Manager Cory Pukini


Cory Pukini has joined the Waitt Institute as a Program Manager. In this role, Cory will manage enforcement and compliance initiatives for the Waitt Institute's portfolio of sites, bolster project support with new and existing government partners, enforcement officials, and local stakeholders, to advance the implementation of Marine Spatial Planning.


Cory brings a wealth of experience as a program manager, scientist, and conservationist. Prior to joining the Waitt Institute, Cory served as California Conservation Manager for Wildcoast, where he was responsible for the facilitation of marine protected area (MPA) enforcement and compliance projects across the state of California. As part of this role, Cory worked closely with law enforcement, prosecutors, law makers, stakeholders, and allied agencies to expand conservation policy, develop emerging enforcement technologies, advance MPA management, and strengthen California’s network of 124 MPAs. He also worked as chair of the San Diego County MPA Collaborative to facilitate grassroots, stakeholder-driven management of MPAs in southern California.



Cory holds a background in community engagement, public education, meeting facilitation, and is experienced in training enforcement officials and prosecutors in the arena of MPAs and coastal and marine policy. Prior to his work in marine conservation, Cory specialized in invasive species management, fisheries science, and communicating science to the public.


Additionally, Cory has unique experience in the emerging field of blue carbon, or carbon that is sequestered by the world’s oceans and coastal ecosystems. Through this work, Cory has managed projects to restore natural ecosystems services in coastal wetlands and southern California salt marshes to support the fight against climate change.


Cory joins Waitt’s team of world- class experts to create and implement sustainable ocean plans in partnership with committed governments and local stakeholders with the goal of strongly protecting 30% of the world's ocean.

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