Colleen Baker, 2016, Anthropology

Globally, 87% of assessed fish stocks are either overexploited or fully exploited. Overfishing is pushing our oceans to a breaking point. The Environmental Defense Fund advocates “catch shares” as a solution to this problem. A management technique that financially incentivizes sustainable fishing, catch shares have proven incredibly successful. My work with the Catch Share Design Center focused on area-based catch shares, or territorial use rights for fishing (TURFs), where fishermen are allocated an area of fishing grounds and are held accountable for sustainably fishing the stock within that space. I was involved with database entry, research, and writing briefs on different catch share programs globally, and each taught me more and more about the important connection between culture and environmental action. I learned that solutions which are built from the bottom up are much more effective than those that are forced upon a culture; and as an anthropology major, this opened many research doors for me. This internship has given me new skills, like policy and governance analysis, data management and quality assurance, and a desire to pursue a career in implementing sustainable solutions.