Fellows gain valuable professional experience, collaborate with mentors, and develop and apply new skills to diverse initiatives and organizations working in Latin America. Internships take place during the summer term between the first and second year in the MESM program.

  • Juliana presents at FAO during her internship.

    Analyzing Costa Rican Value Chains

    Juliana Herrera

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

    Rome, Italy

    Juliana completed an internship with the Policy, Economics and Institutions (FIPI) Department of FAO. She analyzed the value chains in Costa Rica, reviewed and suggested updates for value chain dynamics and the small-scale sector, and assisted in planning and preparation of regional workshops on the implementation of the “Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) Guidelines.” 

  • Latin American Fisheries Fellowship fellows posing with researchers from the Sustainable Fisheries Group

    Analysis and Data Collection in the Galápagos

    Daniel Viana & Matias Caillaux

    Conservation International, Sustainable Fisheries Group

    Galapagos, Ecuador

    In connection to his Directed Research, Daniel Viana (Class of 2013, current Phd student) spent his internship split between the Galápagos and Santa Barbara, California. Through Conservation International and SFG, Daniel visited the Galápagos to assist the national park with the marine spatial planning of the region. He spent time in meetings with park managers presenting the model proposed to improve zoning of the park. Additionally, he gained exposure to a variety of park departments while gathering data for future use in the spatial planning of the region. With new data and a better understanding of the region, he returned to Santa Barbara where he worked with SFG compiling the data and helping with the analysis.


  • Investment strategies for Chilean Fisheries Recovery Internship

    Diego Undurraga & Gonzalo Banda-Cruz

    Environmental Defense Fund

    Santiago & Valparaiso, Chile

    Internship is structured around conducting field work and fisheries interviews to support the Bren Group Project Research: “Impact investment Strategies for the Recovery of the Chilean Hake Fishery.” The work is in coordination with EDF’s strategic partners and the fisheries stakeholders, supervised by Erica Cunningham of EDF. With the SFG upon return, Gonzalo will be assisting in the development of a framework to assess and plan for mariculture zoning and operations. The research will also include gathering data about fishing companies currently working in the high seas and the economic assessment of operations.

  • Blue Halo Fisheries Data Internship

    Alexandra Smith

    Waitt Institute & Sustainable Fisheries Group


    The goal of this internship was to design and implement fisheries data collection protocols for length data of target species, and integrate fisheries landings information into a national database. In addition, the internship involved close collaboration with the Montserrat National Trust to help determine and establish mechanisms that can be used to sustainably finance fisheries enforcement. The internship involved collaborating with the Sustainable Fisheries Group (SFG) to conduct data-limited fisheries analyses, and model management scenarios under their close mentorship. Activities also included conducting a literature review on gear-based management relevant to Montserrat’s fisheries to support SFG’s gear-based impact analysis, and an assessment of sustainable finance scenarios to fund fisheries enforcement in the Blue Halo initiatives. Key deliverables from the summer included a report on finance mechanisms for enforcement, as well as write-ups for the quantitative analysis parameterized for fisheries enforcement options in Blue Halo sites. The internship was field based in Montserrat.

  • Marine exploration

    Ocean Science & Seafloor Mapping Intern

    Juan Mayorga

    Ocean Exploration Trust

    Eastern Tropical Pacific and Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

    Juan joined the Ocean Exploration Trust as an Ocean Science and Seafloor Mapping intern onboard the E/V Nautilus. The group explored the deep sea in the Eastern Tropical Pacific and around the Galápagos Islands where Dr. Robert Ballard and his team first discovered the hydrothermal vents in 1979. Juan worked as a data logger for remotely operated vehicle (ROVs) and seafloor mapping work. Working with scientists, engineers and educators, he gained experience in making scientific observations, collecting and processing physical samples and digital data, and in science communication and leadership.

  • Sustainable Fisheries Apprenticeship Initiative

    Denise Garcia

    EDF Oceans Program


    The internship focuses on developing a fishers' apprenticeship program for Belize's national sustainable fisheries reform. It includes conducting literature review of similar programs, curriculums, manuals and tools used in the region for small-scale fisheries. Resposbibilities also include conducting a planning workshop with Belize’s Managed Access Technical Team to align the program with the country’s broader fisheries management framework, as well al conducting brainstorming session with fisher committees, associations and cooperatives on the structure of the program. A core deviverable, supervised by Nicanor Requena (EDF Country Coordinator) is to develop a draft framework for a national fisher’s apprenticeship program for Belize. 


  • Alexandra in the Galapagos.

    Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer-in-Resedence

    Data Collection for Galapagos National Park

    Alexandra Vasquez & Juan Mayorga

    National Geographic

    Galápagos, Ecuador

    Alexandra and Juan interned for National Geographic’s Pristine Seas program in Galápagos, Ecuador. The intershnship centered on gathering critical data from the Galapagos National Park and conducting surveys with tourists and tour operators in order to complete several key objectives of her Group Project, GeoMar. The internship provided the opportunity to attended a conference held by Pristine Seas’ EAST-GI Project in late July, where interdisciplinary researchers presented information regarding conservation and the re-zoning of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. The work completed by Juan, Alexandra and other teammates helped to inform the rezoning process of the Galápagos Marine Reserve by demonstrating the benefits of greater conservation. 

  • Jade sitting at her desk at FAO.

    Photo credit: Jade Sainz

    Bycatch Management in Latin America

    Jade Sainz

    Food and Agriculture Organization, UN

    Rome, Italy

    Jade Sainz (Class of 2013, current PhD student) completed her graduate internship with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)'s Fishing Operations and Technology Branch (FIRO). Jade worked with an international team of experts including Dr. Petri Suuronen and Dr. Daniela Kalikowski on the initial stages of the GEF project entitled “Sustainable Management of Bycatch in Latin America and Caribbean Trawl Fisheries” (REBYC-II-LAC). Her responsibilities included gathering statistics related to catch, bycatch, and fleet and fishing effort from the participant countries (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago). She was also responsible for facilitating the communication among representatives of the corresponding fisheries’ institutions. This internship provded an exciting opportunity to be part of a highly experienced team working to find the best solution to one of the most concerning problems to sustainable fisheries: bycatch in tropical trawl fisheries on an international arena. Jade gained valuable knowledge about policy, negotiation, guidelines, and priorities within the international community related to food security and sustainability.

  • Marine Conservation, Science and Policy

    Jacy Brunkow

    Waitt Foundation

    Washington, D.C. 

    This internship in Marine conservation, Science and Policy supported the establishment of a new office to focus on ocean policy for the Waitt Foundation in 2012. The primary focus of the internship was to assess the ocean conservation landscape for the foundation’s evolving philanthropic strategies, and conduct a preliminary prioritization assessment for the foundation’s engagement in the “Blue Halo” initiative across the Caribbean. Furthermore, the internship supported the Science and Solutions Program officer and Foundation Board on the process of reviewing proposals and prospective grantees of the foundation, as well as representing the foundation in congressional briefings, and synthesizing scientific insight relevant to trends in understanding ocean environmental problems. 

  • Marine Reserve Data Collection and Management Intern

    Juan Carlos Villaseñor

    Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C.

    Quintana Roo, Sonora, and Baja California Sur, Mexico

    This internship assisted in the process of developing and managing databases corresponding to data collected in no-take reserves for Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI). These databases will ultimately be used as part of Juan-Carlos’ TURFeffect master’s project. Additionally, as an intern, Juan Carlos produced a series of “Shiny Apps” (an “R” package used to build web applications) that will enable COBI to transform these databases into different formats and perform fast analyses to present results to fishers. The internship also provided ample opportunity to engage with the diverse programs and projects across the COBI organization and directly participate in field work to collect missing information for the organization. Juan Carlos was based in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo; Guaymas, Sonora; La Paz, Baja California Sur.

  • Latin American Fisheries Fellowship Fellow Aristo weighs a lobster with locals in Belize.

    Photo credit: Aristoteles Stavrinaky 

    Rights-Based Fisheries Management in Belize

    Aristoteles Stavrinaky

    Environmental Defense Fund


    In July and August of 2012, Aristo Stavrinaky (MESM 2013) worked with Belize’s fisheries department and the Environmental Defense Fund on the design and development of lobster and conch territorial-use-rights fisheries (TURFs) for Belize’s artisanal fishing fleet. Aristo worked closely with local fishermen, sailing with them to their fishing grounds and sharing knowledge about sustainable fishery management practices. In this picture, he joins a pair of fishermen to weigh a lobster. Gathering and accumulating data on the size of lobster is an important component of assessing the relative health of the fishery. The TURF program will soon expand to include fish.

  • Mexican Marine Reserves Project Intern

    Camila Vargas

    Kanan Kay Alliance

    Quintana Roo, Mexico

    The focus of this internship will be to support the group project “Systematizing the Implementation of Fisheries Reserves in the Mexican Caribbean” though determining economic costs and benefits of having and implementing FRs through community and stakeholder engagement. The challenge with effective FRs stem from a large initial cost and lack of immediate benefits, so once associated costs with establishing a FR are understood, the intern will explore alternative avenues that create more rapid economic benefits and growth for the communities (e.g., options that increase fishing efficiency or product values) that help offset the decrease in catch or fishery capital when FRs are in place. 

  • Ships in southern Brazil.

    Bioeconomic Modeling of Industrial Fisheries in Southern Brazil

    Renato Molina

    Universidade do Vale do Itajaí (UNIVALI)

    Santa Catarina, Brazil

    In 2012 Renato completed an internship at the Universidade do Vale do Itajaí (UNIVALI) in southern Brazil as a visiting researcher. He worked with professors, researchers, and students to design and apply methods for the bioeconomic modeling of the industrial fleet in the region. This collaboration led to direct contributions to three graduate dissertation projects from the oceanography department at the same university, as well as contributing to further collaboration between Renato’s home institution, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) and UNIVALI in the subsequent years. Collaboration between the two institutions is expected to continue in the future as an active network of academic and technical exchange.

  • Fisheries Research in Peru and Chile

    Miguel Cosmelli

    Peru & Chile

    Miguel Cosmelli's (Class of 2015) graduate internship was focused on fisheries research in Chile and Peru. Miguel studied the enforcement system used in Chile's fisheries, and researched how such a system might be applied to the Peruvian anchoveta fishery. In addition, while in Chile he contributed to ongoing research focused on application and outcomes of fisheries taxes. This ongoing research is anticipated for publication soon.

  • Edaysi Bucio Bustos

    Marine Protected Area Strategy Intern

    Edaysi Bucios

    Claudia y Roberto Hernandez Foundation & COBI

    Jalisco & Quintana Roo, Mexico

    This internship comprises two parts: in the first one (6 weeks) Edaysi worked as a project specialist in COBI’s office based in Cancun, with a focus on their Yucatan programs. Her role also focused on advancing her GP objective, namely helping to modify the fisheries refuge national regulation with COBI’s strategic effort. The internship deliverables were to document with the fisheries refuge national regulation proposal, and to develop a plan for assessing optimal sustainable pricing for fisheries products within COBI’s Yucatan programs. For the second part, Edayso collaborated with the Claudia y Roberto Hernandez foundation in Jalisco, Mexico with a team of PhD and Post-doc LAFF fellows to assess and evaluate the feasibility of the creation of a No-Take marine reserve in the community of Arroyo Seco, as well as a plan for prioritizing the future advancement of sustainable marine resource management and coastal protection for the coastal stretch of Jalisco, known as Costa Alegre. 

  • Shark & Skate Fisheries Data Analysis Intern

    Caio Faro

    Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio) & Centro Nacional de Pesquisa e Conservação da Biodiversidade Marinha do Sudeste e Sul (CEPSUL) 

    Itajaí, Brazil

    This internship focused on supporting research on endemic and endangered species of sharks and skate to better understand fishing patterns in Brazil as part of a broader effort to improve management and conservation. Caio was responsible for characterizing and analyzing data from bottom-trawl and bottom-gillnet fleets on species of concern in Brazil. Through analysis of landings data and biological sampling data, the intern was tasked with describing key fishing areas in Southern Brazil, as well as seasonality of capture, and providing researchers with an estimate of fishing mortality for key species specific to the region. Lastly, the intern was tasked with making recommendations for management and conservation to collaborating fisheries centers, based in Itajaí, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

  • Juliano with community members

    TURF Design in Mexico

    Juliano Abrantes

    Environmental Defense Fund Mexico, Oceans Program

    Baja California Sur & Sinaloa, Mexico

    During the summer of 2015, Juliano completed an internship with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Mexico program. Juliano provided technical insight regarding optimal territorial use-rights for fisheries (TURF) design. TURFs are area-based fishing rights in which individuals or groups of people are given the exclusive right to fish in a designated area. Juliano provided design support for TURFs in a region with a complex fishing network (multi-species, highly productive, and low value fisheries) and high dependency on marine resources. The product will be nested within a broader management framework, “The Fisheries Management Plan” for the region.

  • Sustainable Fisheries Certifications Internship

    Fabio Castagnino

    Communidad Y Biodiversidad (Cobi)

    Baja California, Sur (La Paz & Isla Natividad)

    This internship focuses on developing a matrix of strategies for Latin American fisheries managers and communities to improve the state of their fisheries towards achieving the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification standards. The internship deliverable is an guide that can serve managers and communities to assess, based on a previously performed MSC evaluation, how to work and improve in order to overcome barriers to achieving the "green" level for MSC criteria.

  • Mary in Brazil

    Developing a Best Practices Guide for Fishers

    Mary Luna

    Conservation International


    During her graduate internship with Conservation International, Mary Luna conducted literature and field research, as well as meetings with stakeholders to create a best practices guide for fishers operating in the Corumbau Marine Extractive Reserve in Brazil. While in Brazil, Mary attended meetings with stakeholders and traveled to field locations where she learned more about the fishing gear and vessel types. She also sought to find solutions to challenges related to supply and demand – this included looking for opportunities posed by national and international markets. In addition, she sought solutions for infrastructural challenges that she learned about while completing her research. 

  • Rodrigo standing with children from a community in the Philippines

    Photo credit: Rodrigo Oyanedel

    Territorial Use Rights in Fishing (TURF) Design

    Rodrigo Oyanedel

    EDF, Rare & SFG

    Fish Forever Field Sites

    To further his group's work on their thesis "A Decision Support Framework for Designing Territorial Use Rights for Fishing," Rodrigo Oyanedel (Class of 2015) visited one of Fish Forever's pilot locations to analyze data-gathering processes in the field. While in Cebu, he evaluated actual data gathering protocols in the face of TURF implementation and presented to fishermen and Fish Forever staff about the experience of the TURF system in Chile. 


  • Frameworks for Community Development & Fisheries Management Interns

    Diana Flores & Ignacia Rivera

    The Nature Conservancy, Peru

    Lima, Peru

    Diana Flores (Peru) and Maria Ignacia Rivera (Chile) teamed up for this internship with the Peru office of The Nature Conservancy. This collaborative summer project had the goal of supporting TNC’s ongoing initiatives in Peru’s coastal communities through designing a methodological framework of evaluation to assess the social, economic and ecological performance of community-based resource management and sustainable development initiatives. The framework was developed and tested using the specific case study in the community of Ancon, Peru, which has implemented several strategies for self-governance applied to resources management. The interns’ focus was to conduct a rigorous analysis of key indicators that can help understand how different coastal communities perform and respond to a suite of sustainable development approaches. Such a framework can be used by the authorities to efficiently guide and design policies that target and encourage proper management in coastal communities. The internships were based in Lima, Peru with extensive site visits to selected communities. The project was in collaboration with Matías Caillaux (LAFF Alumnus and Humboldt Current Fisheries Specialist for The Nature Conservancy).