Anthony Pitcher

Wall Associate




Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries





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Anthony Pitcher

Tony Pitcher is a distinguished fisheries biologist, with an outstanding scholarly record and a worldwide reputation in fisheries research, much of it interdisciplinary. He received his MA and DPhil in Zoology from Oxford University in 1970. He was appointed as Professor and founding Director of the UBC Fisheries Centre in 1993. In 2003, Dr. Pitcher received the Beverton Medal from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles for his lifetime contributions to fisheries science.

Dr. Pitcher has made major contributions as a research scientist in two particular areas. The first area was fish schooling behaviour. More recently, he has been working on ecosystem assessment and modeling. In his pioneering “back to the future” approach, he uses past ecosystems to set viable future policy goals. This contemporary interest in the sustainability of benefits for humans from marine ecosystems was his research area while at the Institute in 2008.

Dr. Pitcher received funding for a full-scale Exploratory Workshop titled The Sea Before Us: Reconstructing the Strait of Georgia, held at the Institute in May 2009. The aim of The Sea Before Us is to develop and publish concepts, methods and case studies establishing a restoration ecology for the oceans that is practical and grounded in theory.

Co-Principal Investigator Awards

Josh Eagle – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2017
Evgeny Pakhomov – International Research Roundtables – 2016

The Ethical Challenges of Herring Food Web and Value Chains
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Evgeny Pakhomov, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC; Dr. Tony J. Pitcher, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC; Dr. Mimi E. Lam, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences; Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC; Dr. C.W. Matthias Kaiser, Centre for the Study of the Sciences and Humanities, University of Bergen, Norway

Evgeny Pakhomov – Wall Solutions – 2014

Collaborative Solutions for Haida Gwaii Herring Fisheries

Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Evgeny Pakhomov, Earth, Ocean, Atmospheric Sciences; Dr. Tony J. Pitcher, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC; and Dr. Mimi E. Lam, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC

Partner(s): Mr. Russ Jones, Director, Haida Oceans Technical Team, Council of the Haida Nation

Herring feed fish, birds and whales in marine ecosystems and also support BC commercial roe fisheries, including gillnet, seine, and spawn-on-kelp. Moreover, herring have cultural value for First Nations, particularly traditional spawn-on-kelp for food and trade. Haida Gwaii and Central Coast herring fisheries, closed in major fishing areas since 2005 and 2008, respectively, were re-opened in 2014 by the Minister of Fisheries. Local communities contested this decision, with serious conflict only narrowly averted. Our NSERC Strategic Project preliminary results indicate that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) thresholds to open herring fisheries may be too low to support herring recovery and its provisionary role in marine ecosystems. Partnering with the Council of Haida Nation, we will complement our ecosystem modelling of herring management scenarios with participatory research exploring the integration of Haida values and ethics with scientific principles. This interdisciplinary project will facilitate collaborative governance solutions for Haida Gwaii herring fisheries.