About me

Barbara Clabots is a social scientist focused on improving ocean conservation. She blends this with her passion for women’s empowerment by performing research for the Global Gender Office of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Locally, she serves the community as Seattle Surfrider‘s Volunteer Coordinator to improve water quality in the Puget Sound. When she’s not in the water or in the mountains, you can find her on Twitter @Women_and_Fish.

My writing

Why female salmon consumers need more transparency. December 2015. Seattle Globalist.

Gender dimensions of community-based management of marine protected areas in Siquijor, Philippines. July 2013. University of Washington.

For a better tomorrow. November 2012. Yemaya, a publication of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers. 


My story

I think I was a sea turtle in my past life.  I love the water- always have, and am just as enchanted with the ocean as any other person is once they really get to know her.  I specifically remember being in sixth grade and daydreaming in the library after I had been to see the natural wonders of Hawai’i and thinking, “what if some day my job would be to snorkel with the fish?” and it pleased me immensely to consider it a possible career path.

After earning a degree in Biology and Spanish, I took off on a few adventures.  I went chasing down pregnant sea turtles on remote beaches in heavy tropical rains, diving to collect data on the health of corals, and generally sticking my nose in wildlife’s faces just to get a better look.

I was also highly socialized in my large Cuban-American family, and it turns out that I talk to everyone and anyone.  The fisherman, the fruit stand lady, and even the awkward teenagers are not safe from my curiosity.

What I see when I look at wildlife and what I have learned talking to people has filled my notebooks with stories, and these things have changed me and the course of my career. No longer a biologist (unless you consider humans within that), now my mission is to make conservation more effective, more democratic, and ultimately, about people and our relationship with the environment.

This blog is my tribute to the people of the Philippines and fishing communities everywhere… to share with you the struggles that we face in learning how to care for the only ocean we have.



3 thoughts on “About me

  1. Matthew says:

    Hi Barbara, responding to your Twitter question to PCC here since our response cannot fit well into 140-character bits:

    We are often asked to support recycling programs for everything from batteries to used cooking oil. We simply don’t have the floor space to host collection bins in our stores. We do make an exception for collection bins for our partner food banks. The wine cork program is a special partnership with the locally-headquartered (Salem, Oregon) non-profit called the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance which repurposes corks into shippers used in the local wine industry. The corks are collected in bags hung in our wine departments and they are shipped from each of our stores, at no charge, by one of our wine distributors, to Oregon.

    The wine cork program has been easy for us to support because our two partners do their part and because volumes do not reach overwhelming levels. That would not be the case with plastic caps; we would quickly need to install large collection boxes. Fortunately, the King County Curbside Recycling Program does accept plastic caps.

    thanks –Matthew

    • womenandfish says:

      Thanks for the info; space is of course something for businesses to consider! I know many who are frustrated in Seattle because the city recycling doesn’t take plastic caps.

  2. capecodcsf says:

    hey there – am interested in your topics, I am an admin for Chix who Fish, and my work is similar to yours, although I am a sociologist reearching topics with biologists, fishermen and coastal communities, but that sounds too rigid – like the science papers, etc.

    I trained myself reading and talking at what I do, on boats and in small coastal towns in the Northeast — i have been following food security in processing, working with fishermen an dunderutilized fish for a year now. Have mixed opinions on some conservation because oso the non transparency of trading i- the financialization of fisheries and small coastal fishing towns, relations to MPA’s.

    will look forward to conversations, some seaweed, some aquaculture 😉


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