Contributions of Fisheries Science to Society: The Example of Eel Research for Sustainable Use and Conservation, Monday 8 a.m.
Katsumi Tsukamoto has contributed to the field of fish migration through his 40-year career of wide-ranging research on diadromous fishes (ayu, salmon, eels) that migrate between the sea and freshwater. He led his research team to collect freshwater eel eggs in the ocean for the first time in the world and discovered the spawning area of the Japanese eel in the western Pacific, which was highly publicized in Japan. Another contribution of his research activities in recent years is the promotion of eel conservation and sustainable use of eel resources by writing general books, facilitating TV documentaries, giving media interviews, and educating school children. His hope is to increase the number of adult eels migrating back to their spawning area in the future by enlightening the public about eel life history and evoking a societal sentiment to protect eels and their habitats. In his plenary talk, he presents his unique example of how fisheries science can contribute to society by showing actual examples of eel research that may improve understanding eels, resource management plans, aquaculture techniques, and public awareness of eel conservation.
Sex in the Sea: Turning Science into Stories that Make a Difference, Tuesday 8 a.m.
A scientist and storyteller, Marah Hardt, Ph.D. works at the crossroads of research, science communication, and strategy to tackle the ocean’s thorniest challenges. Currently research director at Future of Fish, Marah works with innovators to create more sustainable, traceable seafood supply chains. As a writer, Marah focuses on bringing research out of the ivory tower and into the wider world, where the wonders and insights of science can help entertain and inform a more balanced relationship between people and the seas. She has been published in scientific journals, books, and popular magazines. Her first book, Sex in the Sea (St. Martin’s Press, 2016) uniquely links the timeless topic of sex with the timely issue of ocean conservation. She will draw examples from this work to discuss three key elements for turning science into powerful stories that can foster positive change.
Stand Up for Science: Sticking to Evidence over Activism, Misinformation, and Death Threats, Wednesday 8 a.m.
Jack Payne is the senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the University of Florida and head of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. UF/IFAS is the discovery and innovation arm of the $148-billion-a-year Florida agriculture and natural resource industries. It also makes the organization the target of those who try to drive decision-making through ideology, profit, or fear. Payne will discuss how today’s public scientists find themselves answering not only to their peers, but to the FBI, activist groups, the Food Babe, and politicians who sometimes disregard science. Payne calls on his colleagues to defend not only their own work but science itself.