It’s with great pride that we congratulate one of the esteemed founders of FishBase, founder and Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us initiative of the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at University of British Columbia (UBC) and University Killam Professor at UBC, Dr. Daniel Pauly, for receiving another prestigious accolade, the “BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology”. This recognition was awarded to Dr. Pauly and two other marine biologists, Carlos Duarte (Tarek Ahmed Juffali Chair, Red Sea Ecology at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia), and Terence Hughes (Director, Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia, for “their seminal contributions to our understanding of the world’s oceans, and their efforts to protect and conserve marine biodiversity and oceanic ecosystem services in a rapidly changing world.”
According to committee chair Emily Bernhardt, Professor of Biology at Duke University (USA), they are “at the absolute forefront” of the scientific drive to understand and confront three of the biggest threats to the world’s oceans; threats that they were the first to highlight and around which they helped launch a global research enterprise. “Their work is cross-disciplinary and cross-border” – Bernhardt said – “and does not stop at certifying the damage, but goes beyond that to seek and propose solutions.”
On the other hand, BBVA experts said the three scientists stand out for their contributions to our “fundamental understanding” of marine ecology, and their leadership in applying such knowledge to guide “effective conservation management of critical marine habitats and fisheries.”
Dr. Pauly has spent most of his long career exploring the decline in fish stocks worldwide. His method for obtaining records of global fish catches includes data overlooked in the official statistics, such as artisanal fishing or discards, which turn out to have far more weight than first suspected to the extent that they have significantly worsened the global tally of overfishing. As the selection committee noted, “Prof. Pauly’s research demonstrates the interdependencies between fisheries science, marine ecology and conservation around the world.”
In this interview, Pauly talks about how his work contributed to documenting the global decline in fisheries, and the the inception of FishBase as well as its role in global efforts to address dwindling fish stocks.
About The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards
(Source: UBC/Sea Around Us)
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards was established in 2008 and recognizes and rewards contributions of singular impact in diverse fields of science, technology, social sciences and the humanities that have demonstrably expanded the frontiers of the known world, opening up new paradigms and knowledge fields. There are eight categories which are reflective of the knowledge map of the 21st century, encompassing basic research in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, Biology and Biomedicine, Information and Communication Technologies, Humanities and Social Sciences, Economics, Finance and Management, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Climate Change, and, within the arts, the supremely creative realm of music.
The BBVA Foundation is aided in the evaluation process by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the country’s premier public research organization. The Foundation and CSIC jointly appoint the evaluation support panels charged with undertaking an initial assessment of the candidates proposed by numerous institutions across the world and drawing up a reasoned shortlist for the consideration of the award committees. CSIC is also responsible for designating the chair of each committee, formed by eminent authorities in the subject area.