$1.5 million awarded to marine conservationists

May 21, 2000

World's largest and most prestigious award for preservation of the sea

Ten ocean ambassadors from five continents, ranging from nonprofit conservation managers, to an environmental writer and marine scientists, to ocean advocates and policy makers, have been awarded $150,000 each by the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation.

An initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts in partnership with the New England Aquarium, the fellowships are awarded annually to ten outstanding individuals to conduct interdisciplinary projects that apply sound science to urgent challenges in marine ecosystem conservation, fisheries management, marine pollution, and coastal conservation. With these awards, the Pew Fellows Program seeks to foster greater public understanding of the direct and crucial relationships between life in the sea and life on land.

The 2000 Pew Marine Conservation Fellows will tackle a variety of issues, from empowering Southeast Asian villagers to save wild seahorses and raising awareness to restore the Pacific northwest salmon runs, to educating Ecuadorian fishermen to collect data that protects the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The total of $1.5 million presented annually by the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation makes the fellowships the world's largest award for marine conservationists.

The 2000 recipients are from countries across the globe including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ecuador, South Africa, the UK and the United States. They are:

Rodrigo Bustamante, Director, Marine Research, Charles Darwin Research Station, Galapagos, Ecuador
Educating Ecuadorian fishermen to assess recovery rates of depleted species in the Galapagos.

Rodney Fujita, Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense, California, USA
Examining emerging trends affecting marine ecosystems and strategies to prevent problems.

Stephen Hall, Professor of Marine Biology, Flinders University of South Australia, Australia
Expanding international fisheries performance measures for ecosystem-based management schemes.

Jean Harris, Regional Marine Ecologist, KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service, South Africa
Enabling local South African coastal harvesters to conduct research that preserves marine biodiversity.

Jose Orensanz, Research Scientist, CONICET, Chubut, Argentina
Facilitating collaboration between fishermen, scientists, and fisheries managers in South America.

Ellen Pikitch, Director, Marine Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, USA
Developing a "seascape" fisheries approach that promotes sustainable, multi-species management.

James Powell, Research Administrator, Florida Marine Research Institute, Florida, USA
Improving coastal habitat protection in West Africa and the Caribbean through manatee conservation.

Marc Reisner, Environmental Writer, Institute for Fisheries Resources, California, USA
Conducting public outreach to remove dams on rivers where salmon migration has been blocked.

Callum Roberts, Senior Lecturer, University of York, York, UK
Exploring the role of marine reserves in St. Lucia to protect migratory species and increase fishery yields.

Amanda Vincent, Associate Professor, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Empowering Southeast Asian villagers to address ecological and socio-economic impacts of seahorse fisheries.

"As respected leaders in their fields, the 2000 Pew Fellows excel in their various disciplines and are united by their problem-solving abilities and their capacity to apply sound science to effect positive change for the sea," said Cynthia Robinson, Associate Director of the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation. "By supporting the ingenuity of these distinguished individuals the Program calls awareness to the critical state of our oceans and invests in viable solutions."

The fellowships are highly competitive awards targeted primarily to mid-career professionals. Nominations are made through an international network of environmental experts. A 12-member international advisory committee conducts evaluation and selection of Pew Fellows. Selection is based on the applied conservation merit of the project, the individual's record of professional accomplishment, and the potential impact of the initiative.

Pew Fellows have been chosen from throughout the United States and more than 20 countries around the world. Noted past recipients include Jane Lubchenco, Valley Professor of Marine Biology at Oregon State University and a past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, whose innovative approaches to fisheries conservation and marine resource management bridge the gap between science and policy for more sustainable ocean use; and Carl Safina, vice president for Marine Conservation at the National Audubon Society and author of the highly acclaimed Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World's Coasts and Beneath the Seas.

The Pew Charitable Trusts are among the largest philanthropies in the United States supporting activities in the environment, culture, education, health and human services, public policy, and religion. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Trusts make strategic investments to encourage civic engagement in addressing critical issues and effecting social change.
Attn editors: Brief biographies and project descriptions follow. Photos and audio clips are available.

2000 Pew Marine Conservation Fellows

RODRIGO H. BUSTAMANTE, an experimental marine ecologist and a native of Chile, isn't afraid to step beyond the boundaries of the field plot or the lab. In his role as director of the Marine Research and Coastal Conservation Department at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos, Ecuador, Bustamante actively uses science to promote conservation policy. He collaborates with marine resource users and government officials alike to protect the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR)---the second largest marine protected area in the world. Ecological monitoring and community participation are both critical to effective zoning of the GMR in order to establish appropriate areas for fishing, tourism, and marine preservation. To address this, Bustamante will train fishermen and other community stakeholders to help collect data that determines the effect of the reserve on adjacent fishing grounds and detects changes in the structure and functioning of the benthic environment. Their findings will inform the final zoning plan for the reserve.

RODNEY M. FUJITA, a marine scientist and ocean advocate, believes in proactive rather than reactive conservation approaches. A specialist in coral reef ecology, global warming, and sustainable fisheries, he is a senior scientist at Environmental Defense where he examines emerging trends and promotes ecosystem-based actions and policies that address escalating problems. Fujita will explore two emerging topics. He will investigate the effects of deep-sea mining on deep-sea biota and report potential problems. He will also assess the potential for expanding application of the Hawaiian ahupua'a conservation method that links land and sea in a united ecosystem. Fujita will communicate outcomes through publications that enlighten the public about critical ocean issues and strategies to address them.

STEPHEN J. HALL, a marine ecologist specializing in the effects of fishing on ecosystems, is professor of Marine Biology at Flinders University, Australia, and director of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre. He is as much at home on a fishing boat as in the halls of academia, striving in both locales to facilitate a comprehensive ecosystem-based framework for fisheries management. Traditionally, performance measures for fisheries management decisions have been established for target commercial species but not for non-target species (bycatch) and no measures to date address the ecosystem-wide impacts of fisheries. Collaborating with fisheries managers in four continents, Hall will explore the feasibility of expanding performance measures to specific bycatch species as well as fish communities and ecosystems. He will produce a global inventory of ecosystem performance measures currently in practice and will develop fisheries management case studies that examine existing plans and identify successful strategies.

JEAN MARY HARRIS is the regional marine ecologist with the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service where she promotes and conducts research supporting intertidal resource management and biodiversity. She addresses in particular resources of the shoreline including the effects of harvesting to ecosystem structure and functioning. Intensive subsistence harvesting along the rocky shores of the east coast of South Africa has resulted in serious depletions of several species (including mussels, limpets, chitons, and whelks) and adverse ecosystem impacts. Harris will conduct mapping and surveys of intertidal habitats in collaboration with local communities to assess biodiversity distributions. Working with subsistence harvesters, she will build capacity for co-management of resources by involving the gatherers in attempts to reseed species in depleted areas and in research to determine sustainable levels of use that will lead to new zoning plans for coastal reserves.

JOSE M. ORENSANZ, a marine zoologist and fisheries specialist, focuses on conservation and management of coastal fisheries in his native Argentina where he is a research scientist at CONICET: the Argentine Council for Science & Technology. Growing up along the coast, Orensanz knows well the challenges of small-scale local fishing communities as well as their mistrust of scientists. To facilitate improved interaction among fishermen, resource managers, and scientists that promotes essential co-management of artisanal fisheries in South America, he will conduct a series of multi-stakeholder workshops on small-scale fisheries in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. The sessions will foster dialog among stakeholders and explore alternative fisheries models using simple computer experiments. Each workshop will result in collaboratively developed management plans with accompanying guidelines, workshop proceedings, and a computer simulation software package. The project will culminate in a final symposium to evaluate results from changes in management practices.

ELLEN K. PIKITCH, an international expert in fisheries science and management, emphasizes ecosystem approaches to marine resource use and has particular expertise in bycatch issues and shark conservation. As a research scientist and director of the Marine Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Pikitch might be found giving testimony on ocean policies before a congressional committee or diving with sharks to conduct population surveys. She will develop a "seascape" fisheries methodology that promotes cost-effective, sustainable, multi-species management. Focusing on two case studies, one in New England and the other in Madagascar, Pikitch will test strategies that synthesize and integrate both conservation and resource use targets to identify ecological parameters supporting multiple species and their environments. She will expound the seascape approach to scientists, resource managers, and the general public through publications and outreach.

JAMES A. POWELL, a wildlife biologist, has dedicated his career to saving manatees. An international expert on the species, he has worked on conservation of manatees in the Caribbean, Central American, and West Africa for the past 20 years and is now the research administrator at the Florida Marine Research Institute of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Using manatees as a flagship species, Powell will promote coastal habitat protection by training biologists and environmental managers from Africa and the Caribbean in manatee research and conservation techniques. He will provide technical guidance that encourages implementation of manatee protection measures including population surveys, establishment of marine mammal stranding networks, educational outreach, and creation of coastal marine protected areas.

MARC REISNER, author of the widely acclaimed book Cadillac Desert that was made into an award-winning PBS television series isn't afraid to get his laptop dirty. The author of several other books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles over his 20-year journalism career focusing on environmental issues, Reisner is also a "green business" entrepreneur. He will champion Pacific salmon restoration efforts through writing, public speaking, outreach, and negotiations that advance endeavors to remove dams on rivers where salmon have been blocked from their ancestral spawning, holding, and rearing habitats.

CALLUM M. ROBERTS, a marine conservation biologist, specializes in fisheries management and coral reef conservation. He is a senior lecturer in Marine Environmental Management at the University of York, UK, and is an emerging voice for the importance of marine reserves in ocean conservation. Through case studies of existing reserves in St. Lucia, Roberts will explore ways that marine reserves support increased fishery yields, and will identify the role of reserves in protecting migratory species and managing offshore and deep sea regions. As a result he will produce a series of papers on problems at the forefront of marine reserve science and will publish education booklets and establish a website that share lessons with fishers and non-science resource managers.

AMANDA VINCENT, a marine biologist fighting to save overexploited seahorses, is an assistant professor at McGill University in her native Canada, and director of the non-profit conservation organization Project Seahorse. Vincent is an international expert in "extraordinary fisheries"-those that are not caught for food-specifically seahorses and related species. Collaborating with a team of subsistence seahorse fishers in Southeast Asia, she will develop a rapid assessment system to survey fished and unfished populations and document ecological and socio-economic impacts. Vincent will advocate for conservation and management measures to mitigate damage to wild populations, caused primarily by their trade for traditional medicine in Asia, and will build knowledge and capacity to empower community co-management and preservation efforts.

New England Aquarium

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