Dr. Ellen Pikitch, Director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science, has been honored by The American Fisheries Society by receiving the 2014 Excellence in Public Outreach Award. The award was given to Dr. Pikitch during this year’s annual meeting in Quebec City, Canada which was held August 17 -21, 2014. This award recognizes Dr. Pikitch’s efforts and the impact that she has had on public policy and awareness over the past three decades by communicating fisheries conservation to various audiences both within the science community and also the public at large.
Throughout her career, Dr. Pikitch has been deeply involved in fishery conservation and fisheries management science. She supports the progression of fishery science and management from its current species-by-species approach to a more comprehensive and realistic one that involves an ecosystem-based methodology. It is because of her expertise that Dr. Pikitch was asked to testify before Congress about possible amendments to The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act earlier this year. In her testimony, Dr. Pikitch extolled the efforts of managers, fishermen, scientists and conservationists; saying that the United States has turned the corner in fishery management and that the health of U.S. fisheries is stronger now than at any other time in her career. She cautioned Congress not to weaken federal fisheries management, to ensure that these recently achieved gains are maintained, and urged that further steps towards an ecosystem-based approach be made.
With a generous research grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Dr. Pikitch founded the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science in 2003. With a goal of saving the oceans through science and to this day, her goal remains the same. She is passionate in her belief that the quality our lives are inextricably tied to the ocean’s health. As a faculty member in The School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, she continues her vision through research, public speaking, teaching and mentoring. Dr. Pikitch is a staunch supporter of the need for scientists to communicate their work broadly and effectively. Since joining Stony Brook in 2008 she has worked and spoken about a wide variety of topics, including threatened and endangered fish species, the critical ecological and economic roles small schooling fish (forage fish) play in our oceans), and the causes and consequences of harmful algal blooms in our water bodies.