Final Reflection — Summer at EDF Boston

China is the largest seafood consumer in the world, and China’s national supply can’t suffice its growing marked needs. In fact, China’s EEZ had been severely overfished in the past decades and the coastal governments are looking for ways to restore the stocks while importing more seafood from other countries to satisfy the market needs. The global seafood trade is very likely going to be affected by climate change and policy changes. My job this summer was to 1. Compile the seafood trade flow data between China and its global suppliers; 2. Analyzed the Climate Impact on the major species that China is importing. 3. Compile a case study of sustainable fishery management policy& practice globally for the Fujian Fishery Institute in China. 

What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?

This summer I interned with the Environmental Defense Fund at Boston, Massachusetts. I worked under the China Ocean Program as an Asian Fishery Evaluation Intern. I worked on two independents projects: 1. Compiled trade flow data between China and its global suppliers and assessed the climate change impact on the major species. 2. Compiled case studies of sustainable fishery industries/organizations and management plans across the world and assessed the feasibility of each case under China’s cultural and legal background. The climate-fishery report is a Climate Road Map initiative that EDF and the Chinese Fishery Science Academy is launching collaboratively, and the overarching goal of this initiative is to prepare industries and policy maker to adapt to the so-called climate-ready fishery. I was very honored to be part of the team to contribute to this ground-breaking project involving multiple stakeholders and scholars from different countries. The climate roadmap is a very ambitious project and I could only a accomplish a literature review of related studies. However, my report served as a preliminary guideline for the future research focus and provided a general knowledge of what changes were expected in the ocean ecosystem.

Describe the benefits of this experience for you professionally and personally.

I had been dreaming to work for Environmental Defense Fund and EDF prove to me that it was an awesome organization that attracts truly passionate people. I was humbled by the knowledge that my co-workers had every day, and I felt so respected even as a temporary intern. There’s no office politics in EDF and everyone genuinely works for the common goal and was always happy to help me connect to other professionals, giving me career and life advice, and share some good stories and laughs with me. I was even introduced to the high-level team and joined their video conferences when they talked about the long-term blueprint for the program. I felt I was treasured as part of the team, even though my project was temporary and independent most of the time. 

Did your experience provide any unexpected discovery, self-reflection, or epiphany?

EDF has a very well-developed fishery knowledge Hub called the Fishery Solutions Center where EDF catalogs its global work related to ocean health and sustainable fishery. They also organized a virtual Fishery Academy where they provide training for sustainable fishery practices and data-limited fishery management. I spent a good amount of time browsing through the courses and I felt incredibly enlightened. My major takeaway was that a successful fishery management was never just about catching less fish. If we do not consider various social factors (eg. secured rights, local employment, communications, platforms for information sharing and behavioral science), it is very likely a management plan will fall part at the implementation stage. After talking with many practitioners in the sustainable fishery field, I found some common grounds in the practices—long-term secured fishing rights and co-management seems to be the most effective way to solve the “tragedy of the common” in the fishery case. A perfect solution is yet to be found, but the global fishery industry is finding its way towards sustainability.   

Final Thoughts on My Time with the Environmental Defense Fund

What did you accomplish with your host organization?  What was the impact of your work?

This summer I interned with the Environmental Defense Fund out of the San Francisco office.  I assisted the Research and Development team of the Fisheries Solutions Center with three projects.  For one project, I co-authored a white paper advising Japan’s Fisheries Agency on management strategies that could be implemented on their nearshore fisheries to comply with their new federal fisheries reform law.  For the paper, we examined case studies of similar coastal fisheries and strategies that have worked in terms of applying science-based targets to diverse fisheries and using input/output controls as well as some ideas for quota allocation and the potential for live releases of vulnerable species.  For another project, I expanded upon a database of case studies examining interactions between fisheries and aquaculture.  EDF will conduct a loop analysis on the database to determine what factors contribute to symbiotic relationships between fisheries and aquaculture and which foster negative interactions.  In addition, for my final project I developed a database which compiles information the governance and policy conditions associated with aquaculture practices by country with the goal of creating a resource to facilitate access to information about aquaculture and to potentially conduct a similar statistical analysis as the other database to glean trends between governance and good aquaculture practices.

Describe the benefits of this experience for you professionally and personally.

My experience interning with the Environmental Defense Fund was extremely beneficial to my career development.  Firstly, I had the opportunity to work directly with experts in my field of fisheries management.  EDF ensures that their interns participate in team meetings, strategy sessions, and workshops to expose us to the work that they are doing.  In these sessions, we were able to contribute our ideas to EDF projects.  I also gained experience with writing white papers directed to government officials and how to quickly compile information to develop case studies.  I also had the time to pour through the literature on fisheries and aquaculture and feel I am consequently significantly more informed on these topics than I was before the start of my internship. 

Did your experience provide any unexpected discovery, self-reflection, or epiphany?

Before this summer, and prior to my time at MIIS, I primarily worked in field biology and environmental education.  This summer was my first experience with a regular 9-5 office job.  I was surprised by how normal and welcoming this office environment felt.  They really put in effort to ensure all of the interns get the most out of their experience and host many events to make us feel part of the staff and to have the opportunity to learn about all of the exciting projects that EDF is working on.  I was also surprised by how much I loved San Francisco.  I never considered myself a city person, but found that I could definitely happily live in San Francisco. 

Reflection on my Long Beach Experience

What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?

            During the time with the California Coastal Commission, I knew my time there was limited. It was not enough to sufficiently digest aspects of a coastal program analyst to become an effective part of the operation. However, I quickly picked up that staff resources were mostly focused on handling permit items that have statutory deadlines. Hence I constantly asked myself this question: What can I contribute to this office at the operational level that other staff could not do because they have lacked resources (mostly time)? I was able to answer the question in two parts: 1. Develop a staff guideline for incorporating environmental justice in permit processes as mandated by the recently adopted Commission’s Environmental Justice Policy, and 2. Tackle the often disputed and confusing languages of local coastal programs (LCPs) to create a solid understanding of the Commission’s certified LCPs for the municipalities of San Pedro, Hermosa Beach, and Long Beach. I would like to appraise my efforts as a step forward in streamlining the everyday operation because these works will save the planners time and efforts to duplicate my work on their own.

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Supplier and Consumer: How huge gap between us?

Chiao Ting

This summer, I decided not to apply for an internship in the U.S., I went to my home country: Taiwan.


This country is located between the East China Sea and the South China Sea. However, many seafood products were from IUU vessels or from nearshore bottom trawler boats. Therefore, the first work is checking where the seafood products are from?


The second work is helping the Michelin restaurants not over-use the seafood products and trigger the environment goes to a worse situation. Recently, Michelin restaurants become an important mark for international tourists. According to the Guide of Michelin in 2019, there are 124 restaurants are in the “Le Guide Michelin” and 24 restaurants have Michelin Star. To stimulate consumers to come again, my company has to find out unique fish, including barnacle, giant isopod (Bathynomus), and Pacific mole crab (Hippaovalis). To provide “unique” seafood for these restaurants, the company has found a lot of different seafood. However, the company forgot how high impact on the catering when these Michelin restaurants have used a new product in their cuisine. Therefore, my second work is educating these chefs’ why we should not use this seafood or shorten the providing period even though the supplying season has not finished.


After reporting how negative impact on the environment of the fish resources to client restaurants, the company had a huge conflict: conceal the information or reveal the information? It is not surprising that all investors were gone, and the company closed. It is a sad story about a company’s bankrupt because of protecting fish resources.
What did I learn from the summer internship? First, even though the Taiwanese Government supports the Sustainable Development Goals in many developing countries, in contrast, in Taiwan, the biggest stakeholder in the industry may not be ready to change their attitude and concentrate on the issue of fish resources collapse in Asia. How to lead the industry to go to a better situation? Probably you will ask some questions: how about using policies and regulation from the government? The South China Sea and the East China Sea have many countries share the marine resources. The marine resources sharing becomes an important issue and not many governments want to secrecy their own fishery industry. Interestingly, the fishery industry already knows how to circumvent the policy and earns the maximum benefit by under-table cooperation.


Second, by education from NGOs? Well, how many consumers cannot know where fish are from? How many fish traders conceal the information just for higher income? The overlapping and closing fishing areas in the north of Taiwan and the large and far area in the south of Taiwan lead the small-scale fishery to have a huge challenge in regulation and management. Shall Taiwan department of fishery ask for help? Or, can Taiwan re-draw its ocean zoning to elevate its efficiency? Recently, the Department of fishery supports aquaculture. While checking these projects of aquaculture, it seems does not have too many high technologies which can improve the pollution from the traditional fish farm. Can the farmed fish be accepted by these restaurants’ chefs’ or consumers?


In August, my guide and I have had a very long conversation. Two years ago, he educated chefs’ use “Ike Jime” (a method of slaughtering fish to maintain the quality of its meat) to let a fish die in less painful (animal right). This year, we used the impact in Facebook to reveal how worse of the fish resources in this summer, then, we announce that we won’t provide IUU fish to the Michelin restaurants until the day when the fish resources recovered. Maybe in this cruel way, the catering industry will self-reflect how to cook their seafood cautiously.


My guider told me: this time, we’ve given these chefs a lesson. However, we have another challenge: the traditional markets in Asia where is the biggest stakeholder but cannot be impacted by Business to Business.

p.s. I am wondering to say THANK YOU for my friends: Brian (Seafood Watch office), Tim (Fish Choice), Pam and Jim (Monterey Bay Aquarium), Fisheries Trust, Ocean2Table, Louie (Seafood Legacy in Japan), China Blue, Mr. Chang-An Cheng (Consultant in the Taipei City Government). Your suggestion will lead me to how to stimulate an industry or a local government to use the marine resources in high efficiency.

Reflections of My Summer in San Diego

Living that office life

Accomplishments and Impact of my Fellowship with TRNERR/CCCIA

Although my Fellowship and time in San Diego was coming to a close at the end of August, the experiences and opportunities continued at full speed. During my last few weeks I was able to complete a number of deliverables that helped tie together my new skills and experience in coastal adaptation. I was also encouraged and supported to get involved in a few things out of the office that turned out to be fantastic networking and professional development opportunities.

            At the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR), I became involved in researching and developing a number of reports to help the resiliency team and the Coastal Training Program. The first was a climate scenario report for the Batiquitos Lagoon Adaptation and Resiliency Plan. This project in being put on by TRNERR, in conjunction with a number of local government agencies, to determine adaptation management options for the Lagoon, located in Carlsbad, CA. During the past two years stakeholders have come together to discuss the importance of the lagoon, its wildlife and habitat, and how they might be threatened by climate scenarios. Two scenarios are being considered: moderate and extreme. This report discussed the scenarios, based on temperate changes and sea level rise, and how they would impact the natural aspects of the Lagoon. The report includes species and habitat level impacts and will help to inform the final adaptation and resiliency options for the Lagoon’s natural resource management. The report is currently being reviewed by stakeholders.

US Mexico Border

            The second deliverable I helped to create was a Market Analysis of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the environmental space in San Diego. This report is TRNERR’s kick-off point as they explore opportunities for growth in the local DEI space. For this project I researched local DEI trainers and facilitators, as well as leadership institutions working statewide and nationally to increase diversity. I also explored what facilitators, research groups, and consultants might be able to offer in terms of capacity and resources. This report was strictly for internal use, but it helped me understand how intertwined inclusion and environmental work is, especially in a border region. Environmental issues do not impact all people equally, and we must confront this in order to avoid injustices. If we truly want environmental work and policy to be effective, we must change our practices and adopt an equity lens. Natural resources and climate change do not follow national boundaries or socioeconomic constructs. Planning a healthy and sustainable future will require equitable planning and stakeholder inclusion.

            The last written TRNERR project I participated in was the creation of a Resiliency and Binational Strategies Appendix to the Comprehensive Management Plan and its new Strategic Plan. This plan, re-structured for the next 5 years, is the guiding document for all operations within the Reserve. This report was a great culmination of the topics I wanted to learn about during my time with TRNERR: how to use plan for sea level rise at the ecosystem level, and how international environmental management can be used to bridge socioeconomic and environmental issues. The document spanned all departments within the Reserve, from Administration to Coastal Training Program and Research. It is intended to be used as an extra resource to show people what efforts are being made to expand binational participation and plan for the impacts of climate change. It is therefore intrinsically intertwined to the Batiquitos Lagoon climate scenario planning and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion report.

            My time at the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation also was coming to a close with the completion of a few deliverables. As this internship focused more on science communications and project management, it only made sense that the resulting projects were public facing. The first was a newsletter to inform the public (including funders and legislators) about the sea level rise and coastal research being done by CCCIA affiliated researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Requiring input from staff scientists and graduate students, the newsletter came together with quotes and photographs.

To complement this, we developed a project website for research in the San Diego Bay. The project will monitor and collect data on waves and tidal patterns within the Bay, turning them into a predictive model that informs adaptation planning for local agencies.  We created the design and language for the website, so that relevant agencies can understand the inputs and outcomes of the research, as well as see what other public agencies are doing to plan for sea level rise.

Professional and Personal Benefits from my Fellowship

The experiences, skills, and final project accomplishments I completed during my summer have given me a greater understanding of the work of California adaptation policy, as well as an understanding of the adaptation network. Meeting people and hearing their advice and input on career moves was incredibly valuable.

My supervisor at CCCIA encouraged me to get the most out of my time in San Diego by meeting with local decision makers and professionals in the local coastal policy network. I was beginning to realize how small the local network is, seeing the same names on several reports and email chains, and meeting people twice and thrice in meetings and conferences. I was happy to be connected with these people to learn what they did in their job, their career goals and pathways, and collect any advice they were willing to impart on me. Talking with these people was one of the greatest takeaways of my summer Fellowship experience.

Self-discovery and Self-realization as a result of my Fellowship

Now that my summer CBE Fellowship has closed, I have concluded a few things. The first was that my decision to gain experience in a place where I may want to work professionally (instead of using my summer to travel to a ‘far off island’ and work on something ‘cool’, but not really reflective of my future career path) was a prudent decision. It helped me make connections and build a network.

Next, I have learned to ask for what you want out of an internship, and to take advantage of any opportunity. Instead of sitting in one office all summer, I wanted to gain the experience of two places. So I asked if this could be accommodated, and the answer was yes. I also requested to meet as many people as possible. Again, I was lucky enough to be supported in achieving this request. In summary, I’m thankful for having the opportunity to do this fellowship. It turned out to be a pivotal summer in my career development and I think it will continue to benefit me for as long as I make a career in California.