NEW YORK CITY - Dr. Marie-Jolle Rochet, a research scientist at IFREMER (The French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) has been awarded the prestigious Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation to determine which of two commercial fishing approaches is least harmful to the delicately balanced marine ecosystem. She will use her findings to urge international officials to encourage widespread use of that technique, and to further improve its effectiveness.
Dr. Rochet, the first Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation from France, will compare the impact of selective fishing, in which commercial fishermen strategically target one or more species, and non-selective fishing, where fish are broadly captured and unwanted fish are then discarded. The global goal of reducing wasteful bycatch fish has increasingly encouraged management agencies and commercial fishermen to fish selectively and thereby minimize discards. But this approach may be causing significant ecosystem damage because it removes a target species playing an important role in the ecosystem in disproportionate numbers, Dr. Rochet said.
Fishing for a single species may be traumatic to the larger ecosystem because a member of the food web is being removed on such a massive scale, said Dr. Ellen Pikitch, Executive Director of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science. Dr. Pikitch is an expert in the progressive approach to fisheries known as ecosystem-based management, and co-authored a 2004 Science article on the topic.
The Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation will support Dr. Rochets important effort to compare the impact of both fishing techniques on aquatic communities, and pinpoint the least harmful method. We need concrete plans for how to best safeguard marine ecosystems that are exploited.
Dr. Rochet is among five of the worlds most innovative thinkers in ocean science to receive this highly competitive three-year, $150,000 Fellowship in support of critical mari
|Contact: Kathryn Cervino|
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science