Emi Koch

Co-Founder, Coast 2 Coast


Emi is a social ecologist who leverages community-based participatory research approaches and mixed media to understand fisheries scarcity’s impact on young people in coastal and inland small-scale fishing (SSF) communities as rapidly changing social-ecological systems. The research explores impacts on the overall sustainability, well-being, and resilience of the SSF communities. As a former professional surfer with Billabong, Emi leveraged her sponsorship to start Beyond the Surface, a community-based nonprofit that collaborates with rural students from small-scale fishing villages using surfing, storytelling, and mindfulness as Positive Youth Development tools for young learners to grow up resilient and embody social-ecological wellbeing for flourishing oceans, lakes, rivers, and people. She is a Fulbright fellow and National Geographic Explorer. Emi holds a B.A. in Psychology with concentrations in Anthropology and Justice & Peace Studies from Georgetown University and her graduate degree in Marine Biodiversity & Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. 

She is the co-founder of Coast 2 Coast, a Peruvian nonprofit that nonprofit under BTSI based in Lobitos, a fishing village in Northern Peru, using participatory storytelling tools and research approaches to engage young learners in artisanal fishing communities in gaining and contributing to a kaleidoscopic understanding of their aquatic social-ecological systems and shaping positive changes in their lives for bright, sustainable futures. Emi is responsible for directing the co-development process with rural educators and young learners in different countries, including Peru, India, Madagascar, and Nigeria, of the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines Curriculum, a learning framework to explore, imagine, and mobilize the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) in the Context of Food Security & Poverty Eradication (the SSF Guidelines) in their fishing villages as shared built-natural environments.