Fellows nominate inspiring leaders and practioners from the fisheries and marine conservation field to present innovative ideas and intitiatives at the Bren School's community colloquia series for a wider UCSB marine science and management community, and in smaller weekly meetings with the fellows.

  • The Story of El Manglito: Restoration of the Ensenada de la Paz

    Alejandro Robles

    President and CEO, Noroeste Sustenable A.C.

    Community colloquium

    Alejandro Robles is president of Noroeste Sustentable (NOS), which he co-founded in 2004. For the past thirty years, he has been working to build effective networks of collaboration among key public, private, and civil-society stakeholders to achieve sustainability of coastal communities and conservation of coastal marine ecosystems in northwestern Mexico. In 2006 Noroeste Sustenable (Sustainable Northwest; NOS) co-founded Plataforma Bahía de La Paz, a multi-stakeholder collaboration network formed by small-scale fishermen, sports fishermen, marina owners, eco-tour operators, and civic organizations. The most significant interventions of Plataforma members have been the creation of the Red de Observación Ciudadana, a civil effort to abate illegal fishing; and the restoration of the Ensenada de la Paz, carried out by the fishermen of El Mangltio. In 2008, NOS move its headquarters inside El Mangle, a place designed for gathering of multiple stakeholders to reflect and act upon salient sustainability affairs. El Mangle is at the heart of El Manglito, a traditional fishing community struggling, as many others, to make a living from fishing. Since, 2009, the community of El Manglito, El Mangle, and NOS have been co-evolving as they move forward together to restore the community and the ensenada. In this presentation, Robles tells the story of the continuous process of transformation involving the fishing community of El Manglito, El Mangle, and NOS, and and how all three entities have shaped each other's thoughts and actions to increase social, natural, and economic capital.


  • Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQ) in Chilean Fisheries: A tale of economic success and social disconformity

    Hugo Salgado

    Vice-Chancellor of Management and Finance, University of Talca, Chile 

    Community colloquium

    In this talk, Hugo Salgado reviews the experience of ITQs in Chile. He discusses the observed economic benefits, including creating more secure jobs, products of higher value, and more exports with reduced catches. In addition, he speaks about the challenges that have come with ITQs including industry concentration, unemployment, entry of new fishermen into the artisanal sector, entry barriers in the processing industry, and decreased wages in the harvesting and processing industry. Hugo discusses how the highly concentrated industry now has more political power to influence regulators and the quota-setting process, which has led to quotas being set much higher than biological recommendations, while harvests have been lower than the quotas set during the past few years. Fish stocks do not seem to recover, indicating overexploitation. All of this has generated intense debate between those who are benefitting and those who are being negatively affected by the ITQ system. Hugo asserts that understanding this process is crucial to designing ITQ systems that could contribute to more sustainable fisheries in developing countries, not only from an economic perspective, but also from a biological and social perspective.

  • Assessing Socioeconomic Sustainability of Aquaculture in Coastal Communities in Chile

    Hugo Salgado

    Vice-Chancellor of Management and Finance, University of Talca, Chile


    A fisheries economist by training, Dr. Salgado focuses his research on using property rights to manage fisheries and incorporating economic incentives into environmental regulation. In a new research partnership with the Chilean Interdisciplinary Center for Aquaculture Research (INCAR), he employs mainly empirical research to explore questions of socioeconomic sustainability in the context of aquaculture. Dr. Salgado’s talk highlights his research in the Interdisciplinary Center for Aquaculture Research (INCAR) in Chile, where he is a member of the Socioeconomic Sustainability working group. As part of this interdisciplinary, multi-institutional initiative, he explores the impact that aquaculture has had on coastal communities across Chile and the current challenges to achieve a sustainable industry. His talk also includes a discussion of the viability of a regulatory structure based on economic incentives for a growing aquaculture sector, as well as how regulatory structures can shape development of the industry, at both small and large scales, along the Pacific coast of South America.

  • Basic Institutional Arrangements Required to Preserve Life in the Ocean

    Andrea Sáenz-Arroyo

    Science Director, Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C., Mexico

    Community colloquium

    As a Mexican marine biologist with a PhD in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management, Dr. Sáenz-Arroyo employs a long-term historical perspective in seeking to understand the role played by humans as intelligent predators in the planet’s ecosystems. She is fascinated by how modern humans perceive environmental impacts and how some sophisticated, but inappropriate, scientific paradigms have prevented society from committing resources to nature conservation. In 2000 she joined Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C., a Mexican nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging marine conservation through participatory approaches. In her talk, Andrea discusses that although marine protected areas (MPAs) have proven to be a powerful tool to recover species, few have shown economic benefits for their users, especially poor people with limited alternative livelihoods. She describes how the global community remains frustrated by the slow speed at which MPAs are created and their lack of effectiveness in protecting large, vulnerable species, such as sharks and turtles. Dr. Sáenz-Arroyo presents a simple solution in which local agents are able to make financial transactions with global agents to preserve intangible goods and services, which are mostly appreciated by the global community. The solution is illustrated by two case studies, one in the Baja California kelp forest in Mexico and the other in the District of Kubalau, on the Island of Vanua Levu, Fiji.

  • The Role of a Mexican NGO in Sustainable Fisheries and Marine Conservation

    Jorge Torre

    Co-founder and Director General, Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI)

    LAFF Seminar

    Civil Society Organization (CSO) is the legal designation for nonprofits in Mexico. They are differentiated from state institutions and market organizations by: 1) working for the common good, 2) not seeking lucrative purpose, 3) their resources come from donations and volunteers, and 4) are formed by people who believe in ideals and not by monetary gain. In this talk, I present the story of Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. (COBI), and its successes and drawbacks from two decades of operation by using frameworks including the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries and the Do No Harm analysis. One of the main pitfalls in which CSO commonly fall is to stop listening the communities, and entering into a paternalistic attitude. In the words of a fisher: “the heart wins and not the head.”

  • FAO Perspectives: Global Aquaculture and the Challenges to Increase Food Security in a Sustainable Way

    Dr. Doris Soto, Senior Officer

    Environmental Aquaculture Division, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations

    Dr. Doris Soto, Senior Officer for FAO's Environmental Aquaculture Division, was invited to lead the seminar titled "Enhancing coastal-social ecological systems through aquaculture." Her talk, titled "Global Aquaculture and the challenges to increase food security in a sustainable way" provided unique insight for students and faculty researchers based on her work at FAO headquarters in Rome. Additional speakers in this special topics seminar will include experts from across the aquaculture arena, examining markets and consumer dynamics, innovations in feeds and production systems, regulatory and industry considerations, and key sustainability issued as relate to intensification of sustainable aquaculture.

  • Image credit: Marine Stewardship Council

    The Role of Fisheries Certification in Seafood Sustainability: Insights from the Marine Stewardship Council

    Nicolás L. Gutiérrez

    Senior Research and Policy Manager, Marine Stewardship Council

    Community colloquium

    Nicolás L. Gutiérrez is the senior research and policy development manager at the London-based Marine Stewardship Council, where he leads the teams responsible for the policy development process, science communications and training, and monitoring, evaluation, and research of the program. This talk addresses some of the challenges faced by fisheries certification schemes in developing global standards and keeping up with best available science from a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) perspective. Some examples of the environmental, social, and economic effects of MSC certification are described, as well as a perspective on the evolution of voluntary certification schemes and their future role in shaping sustainable fishing practices and governance.

  • Fisheries in a Changing Climate

    Salvador E. Lluch-Cota

    Main Researcher, Fisheries Ecology Program at the Northwest Biological Research Center - La Paz, Mexico


    Salvador Lluch-Cota was born in Mexico and trained as a marine biologist earning his PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur. His talk focuses on fisheries in a changing climate. He discusses how traditional fisheries management practices have proved to be limited, and management is increasingly demanding deeper interdisciplinary understanding of the functioning and changes of the marine ecosystems and the services they provide. During this talk he reviews some of the major observed and predicted impacts of climate variability and change on marine ecosystems, with special focus on fish resources, as well as the challenges to be faced for the adaptation of the fishing sector, the limitations for the construction of fish production projections, and the need for new and renewed management strategies. He concludes by exposing an ongoing effort to build climate change adaptation plans for the industrial fisheries in Mexico.

  • Searching for Solutions in Aquaculture: Charting a Sustainable Course

    Rosamond Naylor

    Director, Center on Food Security and the Environment, Stanford University

    LAFF Colloquium

    This colloquium is part of a series of visiting professors speaking about the global challenges and opportunities of farming and seafood. Rosamond Naylor is the Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment, William Wrigley Professor in Earth Science, the William Wrigley Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and Associate Professor of Economics (by courtesy) at Stanford University. Dr. Naylor's research focuses on the environmental and equity dimensions of intensive food production, and she is engaged in policy issues associated with food and agricultural systems in the U.S. and abroad. During this colloquium, she draws on her pioneering work in sustainable solutions for salmon aquaculture; farming finfish in coastal ecosystems and the open ocean; and assessing sustainability in aquaculture to address the question: does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system? Her talk is followed by a panel session with Dean Steve Gaines, Professor Hunter Lenihan, Professor Ben Halpern, and Research Biologist Dan Reed, spearheading a discussion of key challenges and critical lessons for integrating aquaculture into sustainable food systems.

  • Boats on the shoreline.

    Photo credit: Jacy Brunkow

    Challenges for Rebuilding Small-Scale Fisheries in the Abrolhos Seascape in Brazil

    Guilherme Dutra

    Marine Program Director, Conservation International - Brazil

    Community colloquium

    Guilherme Dutra directs the marine program at Conservation International (CI) Brazil, where he leads initiatives to support the implementation and expansion of the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Network in the Abrolhos Region and other parts of Brazil. Dutra joined CI as a biologist in 1996 after graduating from Brazil’s Federal University of Minas Gerais. In 2000, he obtained a master’s degree in ecology from the University of Campinas, Brazil, while coordinating CI’s Abrolhos project. Since starting work in Abrolhos, Dutra has coordinated efforts to increase knowledge and recognition of the importance of the region's coral reefs and has developed management solutions that can be replicated to influence marine conservation around the country. This talk summarizes the data available on fish populations and fisheries in the Abrolhos Seascape and analyzes the data gaps for managing fisheries in the region. The Abrolhos Seascape lies within a region known for having the highest level of marine biodiversity in the southern Atlantic. In addition, Dutra presents an overview of the region's political and governance contexts. Although there is low human population density along this section of the coast, the region has experienced a large increase in fishing effort in the past two decades as fleets have migrated here from other parts of Brazil. The increased pressure on commercially valuable fish populations has noticeably decreased stock levels. 

  • Market-based Conservation through MSC, ASC and FairTrade

    Sian Morgan, PhD

    Director of the Americas, SCS Global Services

    Community colloquium

    Sian Morgan has ten years of experience in the fields of marine ecology and fisheries science, with particular expertise in market-based fisheries reform, certification, and quantitative methods for decision analysis. As Director of the Americas for SCS Global Services, Dr. Morgan leads expert teams that evaluate fisheries against the MSC standard and farming operations against ASC standards. Sian Morgon’s talk “Markets-based conservation through MSC, ASC, and Fair Trade” provides her unique insight into the practical applications of market-based conservation approaches from her work as an independent auditor with Sustainable Certifications Systems (SCS). In her presentation, she provides an overview of seafood certifications and recommendation lists for both capture and aquaculture fisheries, address the roles of independent auditing and core organizations involved in the certification process, discusses comparative advantages and shortcomings of evaluation standards, and introduces a new set of standards for capture fisheries under Fair Trade USA.

  • Coral reef

    Ryan Goehrung/Marine Photobank

    Observing and Managing our Changing Ocean

    Francisco Chavez

    Senior Scientist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

    Community colloquium

    Francisco Chavez was born and raised in Peru and has a BS from Humboldt State and a PhD from Duke University. He was one of the founding members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where he has pioneered time-series research and the development of new instruments and systems to make this type of research sustainable. In Francisco's talk, he describes the major modes of global interannual to multidecadal variability in the ocean and discussed biological consequences. The impacts on the California and Peru upwelling ecosystems are then used as case studies with a focus on salmon and anchoveta, the most abundant marine resource. Francisco ends the talk with thoughts about how change can and should be incorporated into science and management.

  • Sustainability bottlenecks within larger-scale aquaculture systems

    Margareth Øverland

    Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Director, Aquaculture Protein Centre

    LAFF Colloquium

    This colloquium is part of a series of visiting professors speaking about the global challenges and opportunities of farming and seafood. Dr. Øverland was the Director of 
The Norwegian University of Life Sciences Aquaculture Protein Centre (a 10 year research initiative ending in 2014), where her research combined fundamental approaches in fish and animal nutrition with more applied approaches to provide knowledge of use to both academia and industry. Her current research, now at the Center for Research Innovations, is focused on developing novel feed ingredients for the aquaculture and farm animal industries, using basic natural resources in the production on high-quality feed components based on advanced biotechnology. Margareth holds an appointment as a Professor in Aquaculture at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). In her talk, Margareth shares her work on overcoming critical sustainability bottlenecks within larger-scale aquaculture systems.

  • Steve Gaines giving a presentation.

    Photo credit: Jacy Brunkow

    Contribution of Fisheries to Global Food Security

    Steve Gaines

    Dean, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

    LAFF Seminar

    Steve Gaines, Dean of the Bren School, presents the first LAFF sponsored Faculty Seminar. His seminar, “Contribution of Fisheries to Global Food Security,” focuses on to what extent marine products from both wild caught fisheries and aquaculture meet current demand for seafood and protein, as well as their potential to meet future demands.

  • Science and Management of emerging fisheries in Mexico

    Miguel Angel Cisneros

    Former Director General, National Institute of Fisheries of Mexico (INAPESCA) 

    LAFF Seminar

    Miguel A. Cisneros is a fishery biologist (Mazatlan, 1982) with a MSc in Ecology (Ensenada, 1985) and a PhD in Ecology (UC Davis, 1995). He was a post-doctoral researcher at AWI, Bremerhaven (Germany, 1996) and coordinator of WWF-Mexico Gulf of California Program (Guaymas, 2004-2006). He is senior researcher in Mexico’s National Fisheries Institute where he was Director of Research (2000-2003) as well as Chief Director (2007-2010). He is actively involved in work of undergraduate and graduate students from several universities and research institutes, and has long standing work relations with various conservation organizations. His publications and reports as well as current work deal mainly with population dynamics, environmental forcing, and fisheries management of shrimp, swimming crab, jumbo squid, sardines, totoaba, Spanish mackerel, snappers, and with conservation of vaquita. For this seminar, Dr. Cisneros talked about his recent works assessing Mexico's emerging jellyfish fishery, and insights for sustainable management.

  • Map of world oceans, color coded by stock status.

    Image credit: Chris Costello

    State of the world’s un-assessed fisheries

    Chris Costello

    Professor, Resource Economics, Bren Schoole of Environmental Science & Management

    LAFF Seminar

    Recent reports suggest that many well-assessed fisheries in developed countries are moving toward sustainability. Costello et al. examines whether the same conclusion holds for fisheries lacking formal assessment, which comprise >80% of global catch in a paper published in Science. His team finds that small unassessed fisheries are in substantially worse condition than assessed fisheries, but that large unassessed fisheries may be performing nearly as well as their assessed counterparts. Both small and large stocks, however, continue to decline; 64% of unassessed stocks could provide increased sustainable harvest if rebuilt. Results of this analysis suggest that global fishery recovery would simultaneously create increases in abundance (56%) and fishery yields (8 to 40%).

    For this seminar, Professor Costello dives into the analytical methods that his team developed using species' life-history, catch, and fishery development data to estimate the status of thousands of unassessed fisheries worldwide

  • Aquaculture Development and Environmental Sustainability

    Trond Bjorndal

    Professor and Director, Center for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom

    Community colloquium

    Professor Bjorndal is the director of CEMARE at the University of Portsmouth, and former chairman of the World Fish Centre and former president of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade. Professor Bjorndal's talk addresses on a specific environmental concers associated with aquaculture, primarily focusing on how increased demand for feed will, in turn, increase fishing pressure on wild stocks and consequently threaten the sustainability of the associated capture fisheries since marine proteins are integral to the diet of cultured seafood. This dilemma is also known as the "fish meal trap." Other local concerns discussed include discharges from farming sites, destruction of local habitat, and spreading of pathogens. Professor Bjorndal discusses these issues related to salmon aquaculture using cases and learning from his home country of Norway. 

  • Conservation Finance and Private Investment: Leveraging Capital for Sustainable Fisheries

    John Tobin-de la Puente

    Professor of Practice of Corporate Sustainability, Cornell University

    LAFF Seminar

    Long-term sustainability of marine ecosystems will require substantially more funding than is likely to be available from governments and philanthropies. This funding gap highlights the importance of developing alternative sources of capital beyond traditional conservation funders. Private, return-seeking investors have emerged as potentially important sources of funding to address this gap. Recent and ongoing research explores the magnitude and impact of private investment in conservation, and examines some of the financial structures that may be used to leverage return-seeking capital for fisheries restoration and management. Professor Tobin is an environmental biologist and attorney by training. He has over two decades of private sector experience, having practiced corporate law and worked in the international finance industry for most of his career, with more recent focus on corporate sustainability, including the management of environmental, social, and reputational risks, stakeholder engagement and communications, business ethics, sustainability strategy, and the development of financial products and services that aim to address broad societal challenges.

  • Reducing the Environmental Costs of Industrial Salmon Aquaculture

    Felipe Sandoval Precht

    President, SalmonChile

    LAFF Colloquium

    This colloquium is part of a series of visiting professors speaking about the global challenges and opportunities of farming and seafood. Felipe Sandoval is the current president of SalmonChile – an industry association comprised of Chile’s largest salmon producers that seeks to address health, environment, social and economic challenges facing the salmon global industry. Prior to leading SalmonChile, Sandoval was the Undersecretary of Fisheries of Chile, and was tapped by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to lead the so-called “salmon table,” being a public-private taskforce to address critical urgencies in the sector and lead it out of its earlier state of crisis. Sandoval comes from a civil engineering background, and served for many years in both government posts and in the private sector involved in the fisheries and aquaculture. Felipe Sandoval provides his unique perspective on the role of government regulation and the challenges for industry in reducing the environmental costs of industrial salmon aquaculture.

  • Terry Goss 2008/Marine Photobank

    Responsible Fishing Areas in Costa Rica: Dissecting a Fisheries Management Promise

    Dr. Marco Quesada

    Executive Director, Conservation International Costa Rica

    Thursday, April 28, 2016

    Responsible Fishing Areas (RFAs) were created by the Costa Rican Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture in 2008 as a spatial tool to help respond to demands from local communities for a greater voice in managing their local fisheries. While the tool was considered an innovative alternative to other approaches of small-scale fisheries management when it came out, several policy limitations have restricted its use. Today, eight RFAs exist in the Gulf of Nicoya, a highly productive tropical estuary, but these spatial-management strategies have yet to live up to their promises and prove their value to control fish mortality and provide benefits to local communities.

  • Holding the Line on Fisheries Management in Brazil through a Time of Political and Economic Crisis

    Monica Brick Peres

    Director General, Oceana Brazil

    Monday, May 1, 2017

    Brazil sits as one of the world's largest economies, emerging with considerable geopolitical influence across Latin America. However, despite the enormity of the country's economic development, fisheries management in Brazil has lagged behind many of its neighbor countries in Latin America. Management plans are not required by the government, and neither applied fisheries research nor monitoring is prevalent in resource management. Brazil's unregulated fisheries continue to have damaging impacts on the marine environment, generating enormous socio-economic and biodiversity losses. This current situation, combined with a deep political and economic crisis over the past two years, has aggravated institutional instability and administrative inefficiency in fisheries management at the federal level. In this context, this talk will discuss Oceana's role in advancing sustainable fisheries management in a time of crisis and some of the key strategies to establish a science-based fisheries management system in Brazil.

  • Balancing the Needs of a Destitute Population Which Feels Abandoned with the Needs of Environmental Protection and Management

    Jean Wiener

    DirectorFondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine

    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Haiti is the poorest country the western hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. With massive issues related to governance, health, economic growth, and the environment, it is extremely difficult to generate momentum among all levels of society to protect natural resources. Most individuals are concerned only with the here and now — how am I going to feed my family today? Environmental issues in general are a far-off concern, and, despite being a Caribbean island nation, the management and protection of coastal and marine resources are at the bottom of the list. Haiti is only now trying to undertake serious management of its environment, but the issues are often overwhelming, and resources, both human and financial, are extremely scarce. Without a capacity to engage in the enforcement of environmental laws, the current methods of stakeholder engagement and the force of peer pressure are the only remaining routes to success. Following a brief overview of FoProBiM’s history and its successes and failures in engaging in resource management and protection in Haiti based on its holistic approach, there will be a discussion with the audience of the challenges of the current situation.

  • Entrepreneurship and Technological Innovation in Fisheries Management

    Melissa Garren

    Chief Scientific Officer, Pelagic Data Systems

    Tuesday, May 23, 2017

    Traditionally, the efforts of small scale fisheries have been managed largely in the absence of data and have not been easily incorporated into the global picture of fishing effort. That means that the activities of the vast majority (~90%) of people employed in the fishing industry world-wide have remained unquantified and largely opaque. Pelagic Data Systems has developed a technology that harnesses solar power and cost-effective cellular networks to transmit data to provide a scalable vessel tracking solution to fill this need. Furthermore, capitalizing on the relatively inexpensive cellular networks to transfer the information enables data of much higher granularity to be captured compared with traditional vessel monitoring systems (VMS). By recording a vessel’s position every few seconds, instead of minutes to hours as is traditional, we are able to resolve a diverse array of behaviors happening at sea, including when and where fishing occurred and what type of fishing gear was used. When this information is integrated with other data streams, such as landings records, powerful decision making tools become accessible to management bodies, the research community, and individual fishing vessels. In addition, the ability to integrate vessel tracking data streams from multiple technologies is helping to fill in the global picture of when and where fishing occurs, to support robust data-based management and regulatory decision making. In addition to discussing the science and technology of our work, I will also provide some of the business context for how Pelagic Data Systems evolved as an enterprise.