Symposium to honour Professor Emeritus Dr. Tony J. Pitcher

October 21, 2022
8:45 am to 1:00 pm

Professor Emeritus Tony J. Pitcher

Professor Emeritus Tony J. Pitcher is an internationally recognized fisheries and oceans scholar who has pioneered research in fish schooling behaviour, ecological restoration and modelling, and fisheries ethics. His professional experience is diverse, with positions in academia in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada; at MRAG, a leading international fisheries consultancy; and within the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He has served on local and international scientific advisory committees in Canada, Germany, Chile, and Portugal, and given invited keynote addresses across the globe, in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

As the Founding Director (1993 – 2003) of the UBC Fisheries Centre (predecessor of the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries), Professor Pitcher recruited outstanding interdisciplinary scholars to make the Centre, and UBC, the world’s foremost fisheries research hub. Meanwhile, his own breadth of expertise gives him a unique coup d’œil on fisheries and oceans issues with societal relevance. He has routinely galvanized diverse cadres of scholars to tackle complex and vexing problems. For example, he co-led seminal transdisciplinary research on the BC herring fishery conflict that not only advanced forage fish science, but also explicated the values and knowledge of local indigenous communities and the fishing industry to shape evidence-informed and responsive policy.

Professor Pitcher has championed research that is beneficial to local communities, notably First Nations. He served on the Haida Gwaii Marine Advisory Committee, where he contributed expert advice on fisheries and marine protected areas with a spatially explicit ecosystem model for Haida Gwaii. This was critical to the designation of areas for protection and special management in the Haida Gwaii Marine Plan endorsed by the Council of the Haida Nation and Province of British Columbia. Collaborating also with the Heiltsuk First Nation, local communities, the fishing industry, NGOs, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Professor Pitcher has worked at the science-policy interface to effect tenable policy outcomes informed by both science and values.

For his seminal research, Professor Pitcher has been recognized internationally. He was a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the UBC Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies for his scholarship in the history of fisheries, and Hjort Scholar at the University of Bergen for his innovative understanding of marine ecosystem dynamics. Notably, he was awarded the Beverton Medal for lifetime achievement from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (2003), and the Distinguished Service Award for chairing the Programme Committee of the 4th World Fisheries Congress from the American Fisheries Society (2005).

Throughout his illustrious career, Professor Pitcher has demonstrated exceptional leadership in fisheries ecology and policy. He has guided the global community and mentored scholars, including supervising 45 PhDs, many from the Global South and now with distinguished careers themselves. He co-authored the definitive textbook on Fisheries Ecology and edited the highly influential book series Fish Biology & Aquatic Resources Series. Professor Pitcher founded not one, but two leading fisheries journals: Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries in 1989, and Fish and Fisheries in 2000, currently the highest impact journal in the field of fisheries. His 550+ publications have garnered 32,000+ citations (h index = 83).

Details and Videos

Introduction and Opening

  • William W. L. Cheung, Director, UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

Scientific Career: Ecological Modelling, Fisheries Ethics, History of Fisheries

Chair: William W.L. Cheung, UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

  • Beth Fulton, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere (Pre-recorded video)
  • Svein Jentoft, Professor Emeritus, Norwegian College of Fishery Science at the University of Tromsø (Pre-recorded video & Live via video for Q&A)
  • Dianne Newell, Professor Emerita, UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and UBC Department of History

Scientific Legacy: Students Mentored by Dr. Pitcher

Chair: U. Rashid Sumaila, UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

  • Cameron Ainsworth, Associate Professor, University of South Florida College of Marine Science
  • Divya Varkey, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Szymon Surma, Postdoctoral Fellow, UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

Dr. Pitcher’s Scientific Career and Legacy

Moderator: Mimi E. Lam, Researcher, University of Bergen, Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities

  • Paul Hart, Professor Emeritus, University of Leicester, Department of Neuroscience Psychology and Behaviour (Live via video)
  • Daniel Pauly, University Killam Professor, UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
  • April SGaana Jaad White, Haida Artist and Geologist

Closing Remarks

  • Tony J. Pitcher, Professor Emeritus, UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

Messages for Dr. Tony Pitcher, from around the world