Timothy Essington, UW associate professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, is one of four Pew fellows in marine conservation in the world this year. The awards were announced April 26.
Essington will use the award of $150,000 to consider the economic value of catching squid and small ocean fish, such as sardines and northern anchovy, and compare that to the ecological and economic value of leaving them in the ocean where they can be eaten by larger fish, such as salmon or albacore tuna, and by seabirds and marine mammals.
Small fish account for nearly 30 percent of ocean catch that gets landed at docks and are used largely as ingredients for animal feed. Squid make up as much as 40 percent of landings regionally and are eaten by humans or used as bait.
Working with an economist, Essington will develop quantitative methods to identify and weigh ecological and economical trade-offs. Scientists and managers would like to be able to consider if small fish and squid should be managed less for direct human use and more for the use of the ecosystem, including their role as prey for larger, more valuable fish.
The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation awards fellowships to “outstanding global leaders who are working to preserve and protect the worlds oceans and marine species,” according to information from the Pew Environmental Group, which manages the program. Previous UW winners are Dee Boresma, professor of biology, and Patrick Christie, associate professor of marine and environmental affairs.