Jennifer Jacquet, an assistant professor in New York University's Department of Environmental Studies, has received a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation to examine the feasibility of altering fisheries policies on the high seas.
The $150,000 award, given by The Pew Charitable Trusts, will support Jacquet's three-year project.
The high seas do not fall within any country's jurisdiction, so developing policies to address overfishing is a challenge as many different governments must come to an agreement that is mutually acceptable.
The issue of overfishing has become particularly acute, Jacquet observes, because so many fisheries close to shore have been exploited that fishing vessels are moving into deeper waters in the search for new species. That includes more fishing in the high seas — the 58 percent of the ocean that is beyond any national jurisdiction.
This development has prompted efforts to close the high seas to fishing, a step that a 2014 PLOS Biology study says would bring both biological and economic benefits. The study found, for example, that fisheries operating within national waters would achieve higher catches and profits.
In her Pew marine fellows project, Jacquet is working to expand on recent analyses of policy scenarios examining the possibility of closing the high seas to fishing. Specifically, she is exploring the political pathways of such a policy, with the aim of identifying the expected winners and losers of such an approach and offering a better understanding of the feasibility of changing fisheries policies in the high seas.
Jacquet research focuses on large-scale cooperation dilemmas such as climate change and the exploitation of wildlife, including fishing. Her works include Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool (Pantheon, 2015).