Fair fishing tool lands UQ research fellow top APEC science prize

1 Jan 2014

University of Queensland Research fellow Dr Carissa Klein was awarded the $US25,000 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) in Indonesia on Monday.

Dr Klein, an Australian Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow with UQ's School of Biological Sciences, was awarded the prestigious international prize in recognition of her work towards finding a balance between ocean conservation and sustainability.

Dr Klein and colleagues, in a world first study, developed a way for governments to balance the needs of society and industry with those of endangered wildlife and environments.

The approach enables decision makers to balance the needs of biodiversity, economics and people whose livelihoods are affected by conservation measures

“The ideal outcome of any conservation plan is meeting its biodiversity goals cost effectively and distributing the benefits or costs equally.

“These three aims are known as ‘triple bottom line solutions’ – efficient, cost-effective and equitable.

“Our approach includes gathering information on habitats that need to be conserved, how different communities or fishing groups use the environment, including where people fish; how much they take and what they fish for and in some cases, how much money the fishing industry makes,” Dr Klein said.

Dr Klein holds a Masters of Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara (2006) and studied as an undergraduate, in Chemistry at Santa Clara University (2000). She completed her PhD at UQ in 2010.

"I did a PhD at UQ as I wanted to work with Professor Hugh Possingham, a world-renowned conservation biologist. UQ is one of the best places in the world to work in my field and that is why I choose to do a post-doctoral fellowship in marine conservation.

“However, both a PhD and post-doctorate at UQ would not have been possible without scholarships and fellowships from UQ and the Australian Research Council,” Dr Klein said.

The study, Achieving the triple bottom line in the face of inherent trade-offs among social equity, economic return, and conservation was published in National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America earlier this year. The results provide a foundation for science and practice of conservation planning to move toward achieving efficient, equitable, and effective outcomes.

The APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) is an annual award that recognises young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in scientific research, as evidenced by scholarly publication, and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies.

The prize aims to strengthen international science and technology networks, enhance economic growth, trade and investment opportunities in harmony with sustainable development and improve linkages and efficiency between research and innovation. Read more about the APEC ASPIRE 2013 prize here.