Gary Saldana joined Pacific Whale Foundation in July 2021 as Conservation Manager after a very successful 20-year career as a planner and legislative analyst for the County of Maui. His passion and work in government focused on environmental policy and affordable housing. Gary wrote and helped push through the Plastic Bag Ban legislation, the Affordable Housing Fund charter amendment and the First Time Homebuyers bill, which to this date are helping needy families to secure homes. He also worked on the polystyrene ban legislation in Hawaii, the Outdoor Light bill that eliminated the use of mercury vapor lighting and reduced night glare for night flying birds and sea turtles and the Aquarium Reef Protection bill to prevent injury and mistreatment from the taking of fish for aquariums. He obtained his BS in Political Science from California State University and also spent time as a Public Affairs Officer for Los Angeles County and as Mayor of the City of Avalon on Catalina Island, California. Gary’s inspiration to become PWF’s Conservation Manager stems from his connection to and love for the ocean. He wants to protect what he loves and to use his skills and experience to make a difference at the global level. He is responsible for leading the PWF Conservation Program in developing and effectively implementing policy strategies that address the five major threats to whales and dolphins at the state, federal and international level, which include vessel strikes, underregulated tourism, fisheries interactions, marine debris and climate change. Gary is excited to be leading the charge on conservation strategy so that it is effectively designed, implemented and aligned with PWF’s mission, vision and strategic priorities.

Memberships and affiliations:

Gary is a member of the Association of State Flood Plain Managers and volunteers with Feed My Sheep and Surfrider.