The Central Caribbean Marine Institute is introducing a series of awards as part of its 20th anniversary.

The CCMI community will nominate a group of people for the Ocean Awards, which celebrate exceptional contributions to the group’s vision of “vibrant oceans and healthy coral reefs.”

The Ocean Awards, which will be presented in eight different categories, will be part of the annual Festival of Seas fundraising gala in November.

Dr. Carrie Manfrino, president and research director of CCMI, said in a press release, “We want to focus on those individuals and companies that are making a difference to our coral reefs and oceans. Our aim is to find solutions to declining coral reefs through research, conservation and education, but we do not work alone.”

Community members will be recognized in each of the following categories: Local Hero Award; Scientist of the Year; Innovator of the Year; Tourism Advocate of the Year; Rising Star; Ocean Conservation Company of the Year; Community Ocean Lover; and Lifetime Achievement Award in Coral Reef Conservation.

Nominations for the Ocean Awards will be accepted at [email protected] from April 19 until July 8. Anyone can make a nomination for all of the categories except the Lifetime Achievement Award. Judging of nominations will take place this summer by a panel of judges, the organizers said.

Finalists for each category will be announced in September, and the winners will be revealed at the Festival of Seas gala on Nov. 3 at Grand Old House.

“We want to take this opportunity to recognize inspired leaders, bold innovators, creative thinkers and those who give generously and tirelessly of their time and talents,” said Ms. Manfrino. “This network of committed individuals and organizations push us to think bigger, reach further and strive for greater solutions in an effort to realize our vision of ‘a world with vibrant oceans and healthy coral reefs.’”

For more information about the Ocean Awards, the nomination process or to nominate someone, visit www.reefresearch.org/oceanawards2018.