Anthony Pitcher

Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

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.

Primary Recipient Awards

Exploratory Workshops, Anthony Pitcher, 2008

Anthony Pitcher

The workshop was held May 29-31, 2009.

This interdisciplinary workshop aims to explore ways of creating an integrated environmental and social history of the marine ecosystem of the Strait of Georgia, and to determine how to draw up credible, detailed, scientifically-supported future scenarios for the Strait using insights from this history. Because the field of historical reconstruction is a relatively new one, suitable interdisciplinary methodologies are far from established. Moreover, ways of using insights from the past to influence policy are controversial and speculative. We plan to discuss more robust approaches to creating future scenarios. Finally we will explore means, such as a web-based system, of obtaining community-led feedback and evaluation of these futures.

Distinguished Scholars in Residence, Anthony Pitcher, 2008

Anthony Pitcher

Exploratory Workshops, Anthony Pitcher, 1997

Anthony Pitcher

This project aims to reconstruct past ecosystems. Rebuilding functioning and diverse systems, a concept deeply embedded in the culture of many Aboriginal peoples but virtually absent from contemporary resource management, will be proposed as a viable, valuable goal. The project methods will be devised in an interdisciplinary collaboration of Aboriginal people with natural and social scientists, and will seek ways that traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) can, through the cultural shadow cast by past abundances, construct, tune and validate models of natural systems. The project will find ways of combining qualitative and quantitative knowledge using a new class of ecosystem models that are simple, robust and credible.

Together, the models and traditional First Nations knowledge will be harnessed to describe the state of past natural systems in British Columbia. All partners may then learn together how they may be rebuilt and what their present economic value or rebuilt systems might be. This work has not been attempted before. The difficulties are not underestimated: establishing a productive dialogue among natural scientists, social scientists and Aboriginal people will not be easy given different tradition, cultures and research styles. The direct involvement of Aboriginal people, meeting with the facilitation of UBC's First Nations House of Learning (FNHL), aims to overcome mutual suspicion resulting from past disregard of science to TEK, and hence to facilitate a beneficial exchange.

The project is coordinated by the Fisheries Centre, a new interdisciplinary unit at UBC with mandate to focus work on fisheries resources, in partnership with the FNHL. If successful, the fresh goals for resource management that will emerge from this project will be designed to encourage consultation and consent. They should therefore reduce conflict. Moreover, they will improve the power of resource management immeasurable. The project should enhance and consolidate UBC's position in studies that directly involve Aboriginal people, in interdisciplinary studies and in natural living resource management.

Co-principal Investigator Awards

International Visiting Research Scholars, Josh Eagle, 2017

Josh Eagle

International Research Roundtables, Evgeny Pakhomov, 2016

Evgeny Pakhomov
Anthony Pitcher

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


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