Q&A with: Dr. Mark Powell

Get the full interview with Mark Powell here

download now - 228.03 KB

After serving as an assistant professor of biology at the University of Connecticut Marine Laboratory, Dr. Mark Powell moved full-time into conservation work. As both an independent consultant and throughout his 9 years with Ocean Conservancy, Dr. Powell’s work has emphasized building productive solutions to vexing natural resource problems. We sat down to ask him some questions about his work.

How did you develop your philosophy around sustainability?

When we started in 1999, we had pretty good national law, but we had many fisheries managers that, from a conservation perspective, were dragging their feet. They were good at indentifying the fisheries that were in trouble, but the solutions looked intractable.

What was the problem?

Fundamentally, the problem was that most fishing fleets were too big, and there was too much pressure on the stocks. But there was no single solution that didn’t hurt someone, and managers have a hard time implementing regulation that puts someone out of business—especially when they have to choose who goes out of business.

Read the rest of Mark’s interview by clicking on the pdf image at right.

What was the problem?
Fundamentally, the problem was that most fishing fleets were too big, and there was too much pressure on the stocks. But there was no single solution that didn’t hurt someone, and managers have a hard time implementing regulation that puts someone out of business—especially when they have to choose who goes out of business.
So the managers didn’t want to look like the bad guy?
Right. It was just easier for them to let attrition pick the losers, even though this wait-and-see tactic meant that everyone was ultimately harmed to some extent economically, and more and more damage was ultimately done to the marine environment—which, in turn, meant less stable and healthy fisheri