Fellowship Reflections

Anthropocene Institute’s ProtectedSeas Program

Monterey Bay (Lover’s Point 3) image taken with GoPro Hero 9.

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

Working for the Anthropocene Institute’s ProtectedSeas program allowed me to help the extraordinary legal team with compiling a database of the legal framework that individual marine protected areas have instituted all over the world.  From Uruguay to South Georgia, I have explored the marine protected area legislation and management plans put in place to protect and conserve the planet’s precious biodiversity.  Working on this project has given me such a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how various countries govern and manage marine protected areas.  The high seas mapper tool that will be the final product of our work should be incredibly helpful for a large variety of people, businesses, institutions, and various MPA stakeholders around the world.

Continue reading

Final Reflection

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

The work I undertook at the Anthropocene Institute was time consuming and at times frustrating, but I feel that I made a valuable contribution to the Protected Seas mapping project. I was able to undertake research, analyze legislation and summarize it, before inputting large amounts of data regarding the research I had undertaken. I performed research regarding marine regulations and protections in two different countries.

The work I accomplished this summer will be used to input the data and information for “The Navigator”, a free interactive map that provides regulations on current marine life protections and their boundaries in 75 countries, territories and the high seas. This project is so important because it significantly helps improve access to regulatory information for marine areas. I researched regulations in Brazil and New Zealand, so some of my research and findings will be included for these areas on the map.

Monterey’s Backyard & the best form of distraction: Big Sur

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

I have very little professional experience as a whole, particularly one of working in a more traditional working environment. Whilst my experience this summer was wholly online, being a part of the general staff meetings and project discussions gave me an insight into the culture of the organisation I was working with. This gave me a clearer idea of what kind of organisational culture might suit me in the future and understanding more of how I operate working collaboratively vs. on my own. I think our coursework at MIIS prepares us very well to work in team-environments given the number of group projects that we undertake in our classes. The majority of my work this summer was solo research and data input. Whilst I think I performed these tasks well, I learned that this is not necessarily something that I would like to do on a daily basis in a job.

I certainly learned a lot about Marine Protected Areas and regulations across the world. It was interesting to talk to the two lawyers that worked on this project and hear more about their opinions on the merits and limitations of marine protection and what could be done more. I certainly learned more about the bureaucracy associated with marine regulations, and that while a regulation may seem worthy on paper, the implementation and reality of these regulations can be a completely different story!

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

This summer was certainly a difficult one for me, both personally and professionally. I think that this summer however has been hugely beneficial for identifying what gaps I am missing in my professional toolkit. I became very aware and conscious of what skills I am missing and needing to pursue in a professional sense.  I hope to use the rest of my time at MIIS in developing these practical skills and partnering with local organisations to create tangible projects and actually implement these skills.

It became very apparent early on in the summer that I struggle feeling comfortable in professional environments. Speaking to other MIIS students who have come straight from their undergraduate studies to graduate school, I do not think I am alone in this. I feel much more confident in an academic setting than I do a professional one. I think pursuing IPSS will be hugely beneficial for me to gain more work experience and to learn how to work through imposter syndrome. I need to be able to identify what skills I do possess and create my own personal “professional brand.”

I really struggled with spending so much time online and separated from those I was working alongside. This summer made me realise that I am someone that thrives off the energy of and interactions with other people. I think that I experienced some pandemic fatigue this summer, and the severity of the crises occuring in the world at times became very overwhelming. However, I thoroughly appreciated those working at the Anthropocene Institute for their commitment to address challenges to marine resources and ecosystems.

Whilst this summer was certainly not the easiest, and I am disappointed in myself that I did not make the most out of this opportunity, but this quote from Sylvia Earle is something that I often think back to when all seems hopeless: “It is the worst of times but it is the best of times because we still have a chance.”

The Sun Sets on the Summer

WWF Internship Wrap-up

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

While a remote internship is about as exciting as it sounds, I managed to make the most of my remote work by surfing in between meetings, camping on the weekends, forcing Sam Naujokas to edit my writing, and connecting with fellow interns. I was extremely well supported and involved during my time with WWF, especially by my supervisor Wendy Goyert. WWF implemented a brand new virtual internship program that was incredibly well organized, prioritized our career growth, and provided interns with the networking tools that are necessary to break into the world of conservation. The majority of my work was independent research on participatory processes and governance mechanisms for engaging stakeholders in decision making processes regarding local fisheries. The main goal of my project was to aid the WWF Peru team in constructing a larger document that would be used to inform the Peruvian government on processes which their Mahi Mahi and Giant Squid fisheries could take to engage stakeholders and create sustainably managed fisheries. 

My work wife, always there whenever I need him!

My internship on the sustainable fisheries team under Wendy was so well organized, even during COVID times. While I was sad not to be in DC working directly with Wendy and playing ultimate frisbee during lunch, I had the chance to explore California and Oregon while also working remotely. 

Weekend trips to local California beauties

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

School is important, but experience is where the real learning takes place. When you’re in class, you are told exactly what to do and how to do it, but in the field you are literally flying by the seat of your pants. While I felt incredibly supported by WWF, I had to quickly become an expert on all things related to fisheries. I spent several hours a day just learning what the terms I was reading about meant. I found myself starting the day with very little knowledge of the topics on the table, and quickly becoming an expert before the sun went down. This is not the time to be picky, rather the time to use every opportunity as a stepping stone toward my dream career. I won’t get there tomorrow, or even in the next 10 years, but I will learn alot along the way that will all add up to get me where I want to go. 

Surfing every Panda Friday!

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

Studying environmental policy isn’t always the happiest topic. It’s very easy to get depressed or frustrated by all of the factors harming the planet today. However, sitting in on meetings and hearing discussion of efforts taking place, as well as hearing the passion in everyone’s voices, gives me so much hope for a future where people and the planet thrive.  

It’s a terrifying time to be 25, as the world is literally on fire, people are starving, our country is divided, and families all over the globe are fleeing their homes. So many people my age are thinking about their futures with kids and a family, but that’s the last thing on my mind while our world is burning. It’s hard to be hopeful in today’s political climate, but the alternative is not an option. When we stop seeking hope and solutions to the looming climate crisis, we are giving up. My time with WWF instilled a newfound sense of hope that I’ve been severely lacking this past year. 

Working and speaking directly with leaders within WWF such as the CEO, CFO, various heads of departments, and the entire oceans team, has fueled my passion to dive headfirst into conservation. This internship has helped me feel less overwhelmed about the road ahead of me and more inspired about my role in the process of change. It’s exciting to feel like I’m finally in a place where my individual actions really do matter and make a difference.

Exploring Crater Lake in Oregon on one of my many weekend adventures

As the Summer Ends…

Sadly my summer internships have come to a close and I will use this final blog post to reflect on my experience.

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

I am very proud project I completed with the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions. I created a master list of relevant laws and conventions concerning social responsibility in the seafood/ fishing industry. I then completed a document of detailed findings where the laws were defined, and a synthesis of findings was created to identify areas in the industry where more work needs to be done, and to also highlight the legality or lack there of on the varying topics relating to socially responsible seafood (Human rights, worker rights, gender rights, child protection, human trafficking, seafarer and ocean safety, social responsibility, and food security and nutrition). This document will be used by the Alliance to educate and orient member organizations to the relevant laws and conventions they should be aware of.

Continue reading

3 weeks into my internship at Environmental Defense Fund

If you’re wondering why I’m in my wetsuit with a laptop, this is a pretty good representation of my work-from-home life that started on 1 June 2020 as a Climate Science Intern at the Environmental Defense Fund. Despite not being able to work in the San Fransisco office this summer, I managed to find a good work-life balance that keeps me in a good headspace. A quick morning surf helps me jumpstart my day filled with research, report writing, and meetings.

I hit the ground running assisting in three projects of the RAD (Research and Development) Team: conducting a literature review to find a defensible reference point for Indonesia’s blue swimming crab fishery, developing a climate profiling tool in the Gulf of Mexico, and updating the Framework for Integrated Stock and Habitat Evaluation (nickname FISHE). These seemingly separate projects all share common themes of fish stock assessment and climate change.

Three weeks in, I feel extremely fortunate to be working with such a RAD team (haha) that is knowledgable and supportive. Coming to the end of June, I plan on wrapping up the Indonesia blue swimming crab project. At this point, I have examined the different stock assessment methods and their applicability to Indonesia’s blue swimming crab fishery in terms of biological, ecological, economic, and social considerations. The next step will be writing up recommendations for the Indonesian team at EDF and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Indonesia. Be on the lookout for the post. Till then!

AWI Final Reflections

My last day at the AWI German Arctic Office

I will begin this post as I ended my first post with a picture of me and the German Arctic Office banner. My CBE Fellowship with the Alfred Wegener-Institut German Arctic Office is coming to a close.

My daily routine of bike riding, taking the 92 Tram to/from Kirschalle/Postdam Hauptbahnhof and then the 691 bus to the AWI on the Telegrafenberg and eating lunch with Dr. Rachold, Lisa and Gerlis of APECES everyday in Cafe Freundlich has come to an end. I spent time with new friends from IASS, ate Doner Kebab, currywurst, dranked German beer and visited several of the historical sites in Potsdam and Berlin (pictured below) while working for one of the best Arctic science organisations.

There were tough times in the beginning and I thought often about whether I made the right decision. There was not much of a cultural shock to me despite some significant challenges, but I’m glad I can say that I survived 2 months in Germany, and that I was able to complete a fellowship at the AWI. I fulfilled my dream of working with the AWI. I feel very accomplished! And I am so lucky! Here’s to next time and future collaborations with the AWI and my German Arctic colleagues.

Ich werde euch vermissen. (I will miss you).

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

My CBE Fellowship as an Arctic policy research intern with the Alfred Wegener-Institut German Arctic Office (AWI) located in Potsdam, Germany ended on 20 September 2019. As an Arctic policy research intern, my responsibilities consisted of assisting the head of the German Arctic Office, Dr. Volker Rachold and AWI/APECS project officer, Lisa Grosfeld with organizing an Arctic science to policy workshop taking place in Reykjavik, Iceland in October 2019. My primary work focused on conducting literature review on Arctic laws and agreements to formulate a fact sheet, called Governance in the Arctic. The project addresses fundamental questions regarding Arctic ownership, governance, the role of Indigenous Peoples, existing institutions and agreements, Arctic cooperation, the role of Germany in Arctic policy and science and challenges in the Arctic.

The experience at the AWI afforded me the opportunity to interview Arctic Indigenous representatives of the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat in Tromsø, Norway, the Director of the Arctic Centre in Lapland, Finland and the Arctic Governance group at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany. Additionally, I was able to interact with representatives from the Germany Federal Foreign Ministry and the head of the MOSAiC Arctic expedition, Dr. Markus Rex. The final product of the fact sheet was well received by my AWI colleagues. We anticipate that the fact sheet will also be well received throughout the Arctic community, the German Federal Government, the Arctic States and the general public.

My last lunch at Cafe Freundlich. The meals here were so delicious!

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

In 2016, I decided to apply to graduate school and focus on Arctic policy. I wanted also more than anything to work for the Alfred Wegener-Institut Helmholz Center for Polar and Marine Research. I can say with great pleasure that I can check these two items off my list. My experience interning with the AWI was extremly benefical to my career development. Prior to my relocation to Germany, I had been working as a CBE graduate assistant to senior CBE Fellow and Executive Director of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), Dr. Brendan P. Kelly. He has worked extensively in the field of Arctic science as a marine biologist and now focuses on the science to policy interface. This interface is part of my professional and personal interest.

I had the opportunity to work directly with Dr. Rachold and communicate with other science and policy practitioners on this topic. I connected also with directors from other Arctic organizations and was introduced to representatives from the German Federal Foreign Ministry. We discussed the importance of a sustainable Arctic. I met also Dr. Hugues Lantuit at the AWI, who is a geologists and permafrost expert guiding the Nunataryuk Horizon 2020 permafrost project. I will collaborate with Dr. Lantuit on this project in my current position as a project assistant at Grid-Arendal in Arendal, Norway. The benefits of my professional and personal experience working at the AWI has afforded me opportunities I didn’t think would be available to me this early in my professional and graduate career. I have further expanded my Arctic network by building relationships with others in the Arctic community. Additionally, I was fortunate to attend the Arctic Futures 2050 conference in Washington, D.C. during my fellowship with the AWI. Here I connected with other like minded professionals to bridge knowledge gaps between the science, indigenous traditional knowledge holders and policy makers. I am grateful to Dr. Kelly and Rachold for allowing me to be apart of these experiences. Through every experience I gain a new mentor, colleague and friend. I am glad to be a professional member of the Arctic community.

The AWI is already great! I just liked this sign on Dr. Lantuit’s office door. (:

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

Not to dwell on the negative because it leads one down a rabbit hole but my experience in the country of Germany began as an unwelcoming one. I was met with unkindness at different levels by locals and native Germans. This was my first time traveling to Europe. I was disappointed. I did not have unrealistic expectations and I was not expecting to be met with such terrible disturbances. These moments preyed on my mental state. However, I thought about the girl from  2016 who declared that she would work for the AWI. This girl told her MIIS career advisor that she would become the first MIIS student and alumni to work for the AWI and she did. This girl is me. After rebooting and centering myself I was not going to allow these outside disturbances to interfere with the thing I love most – my Arctic work. I persevered. I gained more from this experience with the AWI and living internationally than I could have ever imagined. I learned a lot about myself and others. The environment on the science campus and the AWI was very supportive and welcoming. The AWI German Arctic office is small. It consists of three people. I was glad I could work in such an intimate setting with my colleagues. We ate lunch together every day and learned much about one another. Dr. Rachold put in a great deal of effort to make sure I was comfortable, welcomed and made me feel part of the AWI. The AWI was everything I envisioned it to be, and I am forever grateful and indebted to Dr. Rachold for inviting me to intern under his direction. I am glad to call him a mentor, colleague and friend.

My last hours at the AWI. The fact sheet is complete. Dr. Rachold is happy and so am I.
The German Arctic Office is located in the building behind me.

Mandii Hoffman, Anzhela Safina and I walking the grounds of Sanssouci
Doner Kebab in Berlin
The famous German Currywurst
One does not go to Germany and not drink a German beer
Leftover Berlin Wall

Berlin Brandenburg Gate
The Chinese House on the grounds of Sanssouci Palace
Goodbye for now! Auf Wiedersehen. Next stop Norway!

AWI Fact sheet continued…

I am in the second half of my fellowship with the AWI and the literature review continues, but the fact sheet is coming together very well. Dr. Rachold and I converse biweekly regarding progress, content, formatting, and imagery of the fact sheet. All of the AWI fact sheets include a cover photo to represent Arctic scenery appropriate to the theme. Dr. Rachold and I agreed that a representation of the Arctic region was appropriate for my fact sheet, Governance in the Arctic. We decided that an Arctic map would be best. This was the perfect opportunity for me to put the GIS skills I learned at MIIS to use. I met a wonderful gentlemen and AWI GIS wiz, Sebastian Laboor. Together, we created an Arctic map. The map represents the economic exclusive zones of the eight Arctic States, the North Pole, Arctic Ocean, Arctic Circle and the Arctic Marine Assessment Program’s (AMAP) boundary line (see image above). The AMAP is a working group of the Arctic Council. The boundary lines are especially relevant as there are different definitions of the Arctic based on the context of the region. The Arctic Circle boundary circles the globe at 66° 34′ N of the equator. Some use it to describe the Arctic region as the area above the Arctic Circle. The AMAP boundary defines the Arctic region as the marine and terrestrial areas north of the Arctic Circle, north of 62°N in Asia and 60°N in North America, and includes elements of the Arctic Circle, political boundaries, permafrost limits and major oceanographic features. https://www.awi.de/en/about-us/publications/brochures-and-reports.html

Arctic Experts and Interviews

In addition to my constructing the Arctic GIS map, I conducted interviews with members from the Institute for Advance Sustainability Studies (IASS) Arctic Governance team in Potsdam, Germany, the Arctic Council’s Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat located in Tromsø, Norway (IPS) and the Arctic Centre located in Lapland, Finland (see below images). I am very appreciative and grateful that each of them we willing to speak with me and discuss at length the future of Arctic governance, perspectives, ownership, Indigenous youth, culture, language, resources, challenges and positive relationships. These wonderful people provided feedback and reviewed the content of the fact sheet for accuracy and clarity. I’d like to thank Michaela Stith, IPS Associate (not pictured here) for providing comments and review of the fact sheet as well. I am forever grateful for their time, engagement and for enhancing my thoughts on the realities of the Arctic region. https://www.arcticcentre.org https://www.arcticpeoples.com/ https://www.iass-potsdam.de/en/research-group/arctic-governance (The images below were obtained from the organisation or the world wide web)

Arctic Centre Director, Timo Koivurova
Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat Executive Secretary, Anna Degteva
IASS Arctic Governance Research Associate, Vilena Valeeva
IASS Arctic Governance Intern, Anzhela Safina and I at Sanssouci Schloss in Potsdam
IASS Arctic Governance Research Associate, Marianna Pascale Bartels

Arctic literature and presentations

Arctic issues – Potsdam Summer School


A few weeks ago, I connected with public policy professionals from the Potsdam Summer School. I attended only the Arctic Issues session where Dr. Rachold and other AWI scientists and researchers gave presentations. The Arctic Issues session took place on the AWI campus. The session was highly constructive and informative. A lot of the content is known to me, but I learned a great deal from those participating in the summer school. The Q/A and discussion period led to great conversations. This was another highlight of my time at the AWI. I met professionals from all walks of life with different policy interests, and I learned more about the Nunataryuk Permafrost Horizon 2020 project. https://nunataryuk.org/

I will contribute to the Permafrost Atlas for the H2020 project in my current role as project assistant in the Polar and Mountain program at the Grid-Arendal in Arendal, Norway. https://www.grida.no/about

There are several international partners for the permafrost project but the AWI is responsible for project coordination.

The AWI presentation at the Potsdam Summer School
Dr. Hugues Lantuit of the AWI, Permafrost Project Coordinator
Dr. Volker Rachold (left) giving the German Arctic Office presentation
Arktischer Rat and Schifffahrt in der Arktis (Arctic Council and Shipping in the Arctic) are two fact sheets created by the AWI

Arctic Futures 2050 Conference

Busy times ahead… Dr. Rachold and I flew to Washington, D.C. to attend the three day Arctic Futures 2050 conference hosted by the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH). This conference bought together Arctic scientists, Indigenous Peoples and policy makers to explore the knowledge needed to inform decisions concerning the Arctic in the future. I am grateful to Dr. Brendan Kelly, Executive Dir. of SEARCH and my CBE graduate supervisor for sponsoring my travel to/from AF 2050. I was especially glad that I could attend as the objective of the conference aligns with the topic of my master’s project for the Applied Professional Practicum at MIIS. This was an extremely informative, educational and professional experience for me. This experience will no doubt contribute to my career and professional network. I had the privilege of networking with policy makers, Indigenous Sámi and Inuit representatives and Arctic researchers, not to mention absorbing the variety of knowledge in the tent (below). https://www.searcharcticscience.org/arctic-2050/conference-2019

Arctic Futures 2050
Dr. Rachold on a panel discussing informing Arctic policy
My poster was accepted for presentation at AF 2050
The AWI German Arctic Office poster was also accepted for presentation.

Galapagos Reflexion

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

Working with WildAid Galapagos and the Galapagos National Park I was able to revise and complete the procedures manual for the Marine Control Department of the National Park, work on updating a database of all the illicit marine activity taking place in the marine reserve in 2019, rescue and disentangle several Galapagos Sea Lions, and assist the park veterinarian in monitoring and taking blood samples from Sea Lion populations on the island of Santa Fe. Furthermore, I assisted with several patrol trips of the Galapagos Marine reserve to help monitor fishing and tourism activity, and I worked on a week-long excursion to monitor albatross and tortoise populations on the island of Española. Finally, I assisted in research to support an economic analysis looking into raising the prices of private tourists’ boats that wish to enter and visit the Galapagos marine reserve.

Some of my work had a very direct impact; the Sea Lions that I rescued have a much better chance of surviving now than if I hadn’t helped rescue and disentangle them, and the National Park has an updated database and a more comprehensive operations manual. However, perhaps more interesting is the potential impact that some of the projects I helped with may have in the future. The research excursion to Española has the potential to provided invaluable information on the health of global albatross populations (it is one of the only islands in the world where they nest) and could influence conservation policy. The research I did for the economic analysis has the potential to change the prices and affect the tourism industry of the Galapagos.

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

Professionally this experience has helped me learn how international conservation NGOs, such as WildAid, work and interact with local governmental organizations, like the Galapagos National Park. I’ve also benefitted from a large professional network of people I have met here. These professional relationships even lead to the National Park inviting me back next year to work with the vet. Finally, I have learned what the management structure of a conservation NGO looks like and I was able to put into practice much of what I learned at MIIS.

Personally, my time in the Galapagos has helped me grow immensely. While I was already a good Spanish speaker, these past three months my Spanish has improved dramatically, especially when it comes to using professional language. I have also made several lifelong friends who I will go back to Galapagos to visit. This experience also really shaped what my career goals will look like in the future.  

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

After my time working with WildAid and the National Park in the Galapagos I realized the career I would like to pursue. Thoughts of this career change had been in the back of my mind since I worked at the Marine Mammal Center while studying at MIIS, but after my time in the Galapagos I am sure of it. The next chapter of my life will be dedicated to studying to go to vet school. My dream is to be a marine wildlife vet. Committing to at least six more years of studying after graduating from MIIS is a huge endeavor, but after working with the vet here in Galapagos I know it is what I want to do. Working with WildAid and the National Park helped me realize that this has been my dream and if I don’t follow it I will regret it.    

Final Reflections

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

The final product of my work with WWF and IUEM was a spreadsheet of compiled economic data from published research and studies on coral reefs and mangroves in East Africa. The data was organized according to relevance towards the Blue Economy, such as economic impact towards fisheries and tourism–sectors of valuable significance towards Kenya and Tanzania’s overall economy. The data would later on be used by the organization to provide an overall assessment of Kenya and Tanzania’s Blue Economy. This assessment would put an economic value on mangroves and coral reefs within the two countries that would hopefully advocate for the protection of these vital marine habitats.

Continue reading

CBE Summer Fellows 2019-Final Report

Chiao Ting, Taiwan,

May 1- July 27. Satoumi Food supplies Ltd. (Closed)

Fig 1 The 2018 Blue Pioneer Program (July 29 – Aug 9) went to Packard Foundation. Thanks to my boss agree that I can come back earlier to join this team.

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

(1)    Building a model that the company can provide captured seafood by a shorter supplying period in each species. By this way, the nearshore marine environment could have less pressure in overfishing. (When the total seafood quantity is the same in the market, the supplier can provide double or more species to mitigate the commercial fish catching pressure in near-shore)

(2)    Finding out the unreported fish resources, especially the fish is from bottom-trawl boats

(3) stop any possible illegal selling on the ocean

(4) use Facebook to reveal the small-scale capture fishery and problem and stimulate chefs’ to rethink about the lack of fish resources.

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

My boss solved the problem of stray dogs and ended the business fighting dogs (RSPCA). Therefore, when he joins to the seafood market, he hopes that fish should have less pain when they die, and they should have higher quality in transporting. Before having this internship, I was a marine conservator and have educated people in the museum and schools for many years. I believed that people, who work in the capture fishery and catering, should understand and have a serious attitude in the declining of fish resources. Unfortunately, the internship teaches me that people can do everything when they face to the benefit. The capture fishery industry is not like an international company, they could not follow the 4 bottom lines. Sadly, even the high-end restaurants who are from a multinational corporation, they also do not want to follow the 4 bottom lines, to carry the social responsibility, and to care about environmental responsibility.

After this internship, my friend, who has worked for public education, told me that: educating people is not easy, especially you want to educate people in an industry.

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

“Fish is an animal, food, or money?”

This is the only topic my boss has talked to me during these few months. From the business side, any type of earning money will be a good policy for people. However, how to “steal” some fish from the consumers” is a challenge.

To review the industry which relies on capture fishery, there are various types: (1) Food (selling to Taiwan and China) (2) Religion release (3) Conservation (for subsidies) are three major commercial activities in Taiwan. Also, when the maximum producing cannot match with the selling time, many fishermen and distributors tend to catch as much as possible, and they freeze the products in the future. Unfortunately, predicting the selling quantity in the market is difficult, so, the market price is always unstable and has an extreme gap in the price. Having an unstable price in seafood is very easy to trick the government if it wants to regulate the market and the quantity of a product. This internship told me that why there is always a gap between industry and the government. In Taiwan, the public policy is in the public administration; In the U.S., the public policy and public administration have relative and independent. Therefore, if a person who writes a public policy for industry, it usually has a huge barrier so that the policy becomes very weird and is difficult to follow.

Discovering Brest

Of all the places I had thought of going to for my summer fellowship, I never would have thought of being based in Brest, France–especially when I had zero skills in speaking or even understanding French! I admit… I had never even heard of the city before this internship was recommended to me so it has never been on my list of top destinations to work. As someone who grew up in the tropics and prefers the tropical climate, I had imagined being somewhere closer to the equator. Despite this, however, Brest definitely did not disappoint!

Continue reading

Final Reflections from BSR

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

My summer at BSR was one of the most educative periods of my life to date. I had three main work accomplishments with the Clean Cargo Working Group (CCWG). First, the IMO 2020 report which I wrote about in my previous blog post.

Second, CCWG strives to be forging new partnerships in and outside of its membership to build its capacity and foster innovative solutions to decarbonizing the international maritime shipping industry. For an example of one of these innovative solutions, CCWG was an instrumental organizer between Heineken, GoodFuels, Combined Cargo Terminals, and Reinplus Fiwado Bunker to partner together and build a 100% sustainable biofuel ship (I was not involved with this project, as it pre-dated my time at BSR). To increase our capacity to be innovators in this field, I built a landscape map identifying innovators and innovation catalysts in green shipping around the world with whom we could connect with our members to start new, sustainable partnerships. As a result of this work, CCWG is connecting with many innovators around the world, and is already participating in one incubator’s award process. In addition to growing our capacity and reach, I re-designed some of our recruitment decks to attract more members to CCWG.

Third, I created a survey tool to help shippers (companies who own goods and hire ship owners to move their goods) assess the sustainability of their procurement process. When shippers want to make more sustainable decisions when procuring their shipping orders, they need ask questions like: what is emissions footprint of our shipping activities, are our carriers participating in leading sustainability initiatives such as CCWG, and is our leadership investing resources to make more sustainable choices? When the survey tool is launched (scheduled for October), shippers around the world will have a self-assessment tool that will provide guidance on how to take the next step to making their procurement process more sustainable.

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

Before this summer I had no exposure to the transportation sector, and now I am looking for work primarily in transportation. In addition, my whole life I have thought I would work in government, focusing on public policy, but now I am leaning towards staying in the private sector, focusing on sustainability collaborations in business.

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

I was working alongside people who are at the forefront of decarbonizing an industry that represents 2.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions and moves approximately 90% of the world’s cargo in volume. I was on weekly calls and daily emails with global heads of sustainability for some of the biggest companies in the world, representing a leading sustainability initiative. It was a truly unique experience that opened up a lot my doors of professional growth and networking.

In addition, I moved to San Francisco and absolutely fell in love with the city. I am here to stay! A fun fact, if you are in the Bay Area, and you see a cargo ship rolling into the Port of Oakland (as I did in this picture below taken from Treasure Island), rest easy knowing that that ship (and every cargo ship) that comes into the Port of Oakland is a CCWG member!

The passive government and the positive market: How to use the market to find out the wasted fish.

The seafood market is a giant market in Taiwan. However, because the ocean is large (about 180,000 km2) and the marine environment is complicated (coral reef environment in the South China Sea, kelp environment in the Ease China Sea, Kuroshio ocean current, and China coastal current), the seafood is various so that it is difficult to be regulated.

According to the Fishery Agency, there are 322 genus species are economic marine species, but only a few species have clear data of fish population to modify its catching. These species include tuna family (Family Scombridae), mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), and farmed fish (about 12 genus and species). Therefore, a consumer could have various choices in fish but the products could be from boats which are from IUU fishing (Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing).

This end of June, Taiwan, because of pressure from the European Commission, leads the long-distance fleets to comply with the RFMO obligations systematically (Regional Fisheries Management Organization) and have VMS (vessels monitory system). Now, it is the time to stimulate the small-scale fishing vessels to have legal, reported, and regulated fishing. But, how to do it?

If we use the “cap and trade” on GHG management, the tax is a cap and the carbon market is a trade. Similarity, the prescription in the small-scale fishery from the government is the cap and the high-end catering industry will be the trade in the seafood market in Taiwan. We hope to stimulate people to understand which species they are eating and what the impact will give to the ocean by the chosen fish from the high-end catering industry. The reason is we notice that many Taiwanese tend to know what the seafood is eaten by wealthier. By revealing the seafood what they like to eat, the local social media would report and stimulate people that they should choose this new seafood carefully or not.

This summer, I am working in Satoumi (里海有限公司). Satoumi is a company which provides many high-end restaurants in Taiwan. These chefs are looking for local food, including seafood. Unfortunately, the choice in seafood is very difficult. To review the reason why the local seafood providing is so difficult, we got some reasons: the marine environment is changing too quickly but the scientific data did not follow up; many chefs in high-end restaurants prefer to take a challenge in unique food. If we can switch the high-risked fish species to low-risk fish in the chosen list, can we release a little bit of pressure from the overfishing?

For example, giant isopod (Bathynomus giganteus) is a by-catch with giant scarlet prawn (Aristaeopsis edwardsiana). However, this year, because of not enough catching value of giant scarlet prawn, the vessels tended to increase its trawling times. The problem on the vessel was that there were a lot of giant isopods rather than the giant scarlet prawn. The giant isopods were the bycatch in this case. To stop the vessels working in the South China Sea and ruining the coral reef environment,  the company decides to sell giant isopod to cover the shortage of income from giant scarlet prawn. I evaluated the possibility to sell it or not.  Then, my boss and I decided the price that people will payment (about 8~17 USD for the first sale and 12.6~50 USD for the second sale).

Interestingly, this product stimulates not only people who love to take challenge in specific seafood but also people who love to collect specimen to buy the giant isopods. By selling a new product, the team wants to trigger people to rethink where the seafood is from.

Fig 1. Giant isopod (Bathynomus giganteus). There are about 19 species in this genus. Because it is a giant body size in the Isopoda and its style is very interesting, also, the Toba Aquarium in Japan has had the same genus but different species of the isopod, there are many people tend to concentrate on this news about it’s from and how the fishermen caught it.