Its hard to believe my internship is already half way over! Despite quarantine and the strange way time seems to move when I make a new routine for myself, it most certainly doesn’t feel like a whole five weeks have passed. When I take a moment to reflect on the work I have produced so far I am very proud of what I have accomplished so far.
The core of my work at EDF is with the Japan Support Team. In 2019 Japan overhauled a huge portion of their fisheries law – the biggest reform in 70 years – and is currently in the process of implementing those new policies. I am assisting on creating a framework for evaluating the progress of implementation based on the policy goals, EDF’s climate forward goals, and input from the team working on implementation.
I am also doing research about electric monitoring (EM) on longline fishing vessels to support the pilot program for distant water fishing vessels. I am gathering information about the data EM systems collect and how that can help fishers meet monitoring and reporting requirements for fish stocks and catch rates. This pilot program focuses on two specific prefectures – Fukuoka in the southwest and Miyagi in the northeast of Japan. While this mainly applies to the boats in the distant water fleet, there are potential uses for nearshore fisheries and for the warehouses that process the sale of fish.
Through this process, I find that I appreciate the science heavy approach EDF takes and the strong follow through they have. Science is present in the process of evaluation and creation of policy, all the way through implementation and circling back to evaluation again. Teams bring both hard science and social science concerns to the table and integrate a really wide variety of knowledge into solutions.
In addition to the work with the Japan Team, I have also had the opportunity to dip my fins into the world of cellular seafood. In conjunction with the EDF+Business, I have compiled a list of companies in the ‘finless’ fish industry. I have a very small role in the overall research, but its exciting to discuss the future of seafood and what lab grown or vegan fish alternatives could mean for the fisheries industry and the health of wild fish stocks. This project allowed me to learn more about the business and industry side of EDF, and also brought me into conversations about markets, food security, and conservation.
On a somewhat more personal note, a lesson I learned from the first place I worked after undergrad was that gratitude can be a very empowering lens through which we see our own life.
Something I am extremely grateful for is EDF’s open and inclusive workplace culture. Supervisors, intern ambassadors, and other interns have all helped to curate a space in which I am comfortable being myself. This includes being comfortable using my pronouns and being out and open during Pride Month (and the rest of the time I am with EDF), as well as being comfortable seeking help and assistance, making mistakes, and learning from and correcting those mistakes. There is a very supportive network built into the team dynamics at EDF.
In the midst of all the calamity in the world and as we leave June behind, I want to express gratitude for not only the opportunity to still have an internship, but to have an internship at an organization that values me as well as the work I am capable of doing.