Speaker: Lyall Bellquist
The Nature Conservancy Science for Conservation in California Fisheries
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) was born out of both the recognition of anthropogenic impacts in nature, as well as the emerging field of terrestrial ecology at the time. Throughout the following decades, TNC evolved from a strictly scientific body, to a national place-based conservation organization, which has now become a strategy-driven global leader in environmental science and conservation. The organization is structured under three global priorities: land, water, and oceans (climate and cities are two additional emerging priorities). The focus of this presentation will be the California Oceans Program, specifically fisheries science and conservation. The California Fisheries Team at TNC was formed only 6 years ago, but has developed several large-scale and impactful programs focusing of marine fisheries science and management throughout the state. Our thematic model of “climate-ready fisheries” operates by integrating new technologies, experimentation using both traditional and citizen science, and stakeholder collaborations to fill critical data gaps and facilitate modern adaptive fisheries management. We have a specific focus on testing modernized data collection methods and new fishing gear types to limit bycatch in commercial groundfish and swordfish fisheries. We are also leveraging new technologies and an engaged recreational diving community to test the effectiveness of citizen science and new data streams for informing red abalone fisheries management. In addition, we are partnering with the commercial Dungeness crab fleet and UC Santa Cruz to test potential solutions for minimizing whale entanglements in the Dungeness fishery. The future of fisheries research at TNC will integrate new partnerships, technologies, and scientific approaches to find fisheries solutions in an ever-changing climate.