Summer Travel Grant 2018 Recipient
Graduate Degree Fellow
PhD in Marine Biology
This summer, I was lucky to be able to attend the Society for Conservation Biology’s 5th Oceania Congress, held in Wellington, New Zealand between 3-5th July. The conference was held at the spectacular national museum Te Papa, right on the waterfront. Apart from being able to wander the museum between presentations, on the second day we were all treated to the sight of a southern right whale frolicking inside the Wellington harbor — very distracting for a room full of conservationists!
On the final day of the conference, I presented my work on the ecological history of the tuna fishery in the Maldives, Indian Ocean. This is something I have been working on as a side project to my doctoral research this past year, and I was excited to be able to present it to this audience of ecologists, social scientists, and managers. The tuna fishery of the Maldives is unique in that its 1000-year existence has ensured that reef fishing has stayed light in these waters – in contrast to many other islands around the world where reef fish are in decline because of climate change-related and anthropogenic stress. The Maldives presents an interesting counter case study where it is tuna that has high cultural value, and my work investigated some of the reasons why this fishery might have developed in these islands over time. The talk went well, and many people were curious to know more, which made me happy. Even though the conference had a Pacific focus, I think many of the problems or issues in conservation are common across borders. I am currently working on writing this up as a research article for publication.
I am very grateful for the EWCA Summer Travel Grant for supporting my trip to New Zealand; it was a fantastic experience and I am really happy I was able to go!