Peter Nelson is a fisheries biologist.
“I am a biologist and a surfer. I grew up on, in and under the water on the west coast of the United States. I have two children, a son (12) and a daughter (8), and one of my greatest joys is taking my kids on, in or under the water. For this reason, taking care of the ocean is incredibly important to me.
I have studied the fishes that aggregate beneath floating objects, what fish see and
why they have the colors they do, and the movements of fishes as they transition
from juveniles to adults, but I am terribly curious about most things. I am good with
numbers and looking for patterns that require statistics to find them, and I especially like
conducting experiments that explore interesting questions on behavior or physiology.
Here in California, I work with fishermen to collect the kinds of information needed to
manage fisheries and protect marine ecosystems. In the U.S., managers and scientists
have told fishermen where to fish, when to fish and how much to fish for decades;
sometimes this has worked but often the results have been poor. We are working now
to make fishermen partners in the management process. Obviously, fishermen know
the sea. They know that taking too much, too fast will result in scarcity. So, clearly,
fishermen can and should be stewards of the ocean. Our seafood markets and our history
of fisheries management make this difficult to achieve, but I think that we are beginning
to make progress. I would be honored to help to contribute some of the science that we
have acquired in the United States, as well as our experience involving communities in
managing their resources. I expect, however, that I will learn at least as much from the
people of Ulithi.”