CFER marine biologist to address international conference
Monday, January 16, 2012

Kate Barley, a PhD student and a marine biologist with the Marine Institute's Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research (CFER) who says consultation with fishermen is key, will  speak about sustainable fishing at a world conservation conference.

A marine biologist who says "consultation with fishermen is key" will speak about sustainable fishing at a world conservation conference. Kate Barley, 29, a PhD student with the Marine Institute's Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research (CFER) is conducting a world review into the affect of closing fisheries on marine biology, which she describes as a "hot topic".

Hailing from Cleethorpes, England, Kate's research has a global focus on fishery closures/marine reserves in ecosystem based management, including how fish harvesters are involved in their design and management, community-managed closures in the tropics, and the Hawke Channel closed area in Labrador. Her review comes at a time when conservationists, in Canada and the United Kingdom, are increasingly concerned about the world's fish stocks.

The PhD student has recently been granted an audience at the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in September. The event called Jeju 2012, to be held in South Korea, happens once every four years and will give her an audience with world experts so she can relay the results on her findings on fisheries.

Kate's studies will lead her to look at fishing stocks in a number of countries, including Iceland, the UK, Canada - where she is currently based - and Australia. She will soon be boarding an Irish boat off the coast of Labrador, where a fishery was closed to trawlers a decade ago - a request supported by crab fishermen.

Kate will look at cod and crab stocks to see how great an effect the closure has had on the marine biology in the area. Her findings will be used to advise the Canadian government on a plan of action for the future.

Although her work is only just beginning, she has said that consultation with fishermen is vital to the way decisions about fishing are made.

Kate said: "In the past, fisheries have been closed without consulting fishermen and those decisions are always very unpopular. "Governments should consult fishermen and be open about the results of studies, as they will often find that fishermen care about sustainable fishing more than anyone. "It will also be beneficial to research as fishermen know a lot about what is in the sea and where it is, so they can help researchers carry out accurate research."

Kate's work in Canada is already getting recognized.  She won the People's Choice Award for her poster at the Canadian Fisheries Network AGM in December 2012.