Navigating the Waves: Lenfest at the World Fisheries Congress


Navigating the Waves: Lenfest at the World Fisheries Congress

In early March, the Lenfest Ocean Program (LOP) attended the Ninth World Fisheries Congress (WFC), in Seattle, Washington. The conference offered a platform for scientists, managers, industry representatives, community experts, and Tribal leaders to convene and exchange insights around the conference theme of “Fish and Fisheries at the Food-Water-Energy Nexus.” Throughout the conference, participants had discussions encompassing the multi-faceted realm of fisheries sustainability, aquatic ecosystems, societal impacts, and innovative approaches.

With the many projects LOP supports around climate-resilient fisheries and ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM), as well as a swath of grantees attending, the team's participation was crucial. At WFC, the Lenfest Ocean Program had the privilege of highlighting its funded work through a series of sessions and events including an all-day symposium for operationalizing EBFM, the launch of a major Executive Summary, an expert panel to discuss case studies for adapting fisheries to climate change, and a spirited happy hour with grantees and conference attendees. The team was also delighted to witness over 20 current and former LOP grantees deliver compelling presentations around their work.

A Week at the World Fisheries Congress

On Monday, March 4, much of the morning was spent setting up the team's booth in the Exhibit Hall, where LOP projects were shown off in the form of fact sheets, the new Executive Summary, and Lenfest Ocean Program temporary tattoos.

 A booth displaying information about the Lenfest Ocean Program with posters, flyers, and two empty chairs. Behind the booth are blue and white cloth dividers and a banner with a bird, sea turtle, and shark.
The LOP booth was set up and ready to go in the Exhibit Hall during the World Fisheries Congress, showcasing new report releases, project materials, and exciting swag
Lenfest Ocean Program
A man with a tattoo on his arm of the Lenfest Ocean Program Logo. The logo is a circle made of wavy lines in three different shades of blue with the words Lenfest Ocean Program to the right. The background is a grey, blue, and yellow carpet with a triangle design.
Among fact sheets and project materials, the team brought temporary tattoos of the LOP logo, which were a surprise hit
Lenfest Ocean Program

The Congress officially commenced with a welcoming plenary session followed by a day filled with diverse talks covering topics from migratory barriers to biochemical considerations, illegal fishing to behavioral ecology, and plastic pollution to hydropower, showcasing a remarkable breadth of knowledge and expertise that set an inspiring tone for the week ahead.

Two people presenting at a conference; Jason Landrum on the left is standing with notes, and Beth Fulton on the right is standing by a laptop, with a PowerPoint slide titled "summary" visible in the background. Behind them is a window showcasing downtown Seattle.
Senior Officer Jason Landrum shares a laugh with Beth Fulton (CSIRO) as they kick off the engaging afternoon session of our full-day event on Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM)
Lenfest Ocean Program

Kicking off day one, LOP hosted a session co-organized by Senior Officer, Jason Landrum, Director, Charlotte Hudson, Beth Fulton (CSIRO), and Keith Sainsbury (University of Tasmania), focusing on "Operationalizing Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) Through Inclusive Research, Engagement, and Partnerships." The session featured 14 talks and a panel discussion where experts and stakeholders from various regions and management contexts deliberated on the successes and challenges of EBFM implementation, underlining the critical need for enhanced collaboration between scientists and decision-makers to advance EBFM principles globally.

Moreover, the session marked the release of the Executive Summary, “Moving from A to B: Guidelines for Practical Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management.” This report details the five-year endeavor led by Drs. Fulton and Sainsbury, which identified and tested ecosystem indicators, culminating in the development of the Ecosystem Traits Index (ETI). This index serves as a practical tool to assess ecosystem health and guide EBFM efforts worldwide, offering much-needed clarity and guidance for stakeholders navigating the transition towards comprehensive EBFM practices.

An image of Jason Link presenting, with a large screen in the background. The slide on the screen is entitled What have we achieved in the past 10+ years? Ecosystem Programs.
Jason Link (NOAA Fisheries) delivering a talk during our full-day session on Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM)
Lenfest Ocean Program

Tuesday, March 5th marked yet another dynamic day filled with insightful talks from experts, followed by lunch shared with some of the LOP grantees, and an interactive poster session. The day commenced with a lively LOP Happy Hour hosted at a local bar, The Pine Box. As the Lenfest Ocean Program celebrates over two decades of impactful work, having funded more than 125 research projects and supported 12 task forces and expert working groups, this occasion marked a significant milestone as it brought together the entire team and many of the grantees for the first time in person. The Happy Hour proved to be a huge hit, drawing in over 200 attendees and fostering meaningful connections throughout the night.

A bustling bar scene at The Pine Box, where customers are gathered around tables, enjoying drinks and conversation during Happy Hour.
Inside The Pine Box during Happy Hour on Tuesday, May 5th, the room buzzes with conversation as conference attendees and the grantees engage enthusiastically
Lenfest Ocean Program
Charlotte Hudson speaking at a microphone. She is in an outdoor space with a dark ambience, featuring a stage area with a green faux hedge backdrop adorned with golden picture frames.
Charlotte Hudson, Director of the Lenfest Ocean Program, captivates the audience with her talk on the back patio of the Pine Box during our engaging happy hour event held on Tuesday, May 5th
Lenfest Ocean Program

On Wednesday, March 6th LOP held a session entitled “Crafting Usable Science to Inform Fisheries Decision-Making in a Changing Climate – Lessons from the Science-Policy Interface” organized by Principal Associate, Kayla Ripple and Senior Officer, Sarah Close. In this session, a panel of expert researchers including, Yunzhou Li (Stony Brook University), Phil Levin (University of Washington), Brandon Muffley (Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council), Abigail Golden (University of Washington), and Stephanie Green (University of Alberta) discussed the multifaceted challenges of climate-driven impacts on marine species. Emphasizing the need for tailored information developed in collaboration with fisheries managers and stakeholders, the panel explored methods and experiences aimed at understanding, predicting, and addressing solutions for these impacts, positioning research outcomes for maximum impact.

Five-panel collage from the conference, featuring a Kayla Ripple at a lectern with a laptop, Sarah Close standing by a presentation screen, and five panelists seated in a panel discussion setup with microphones. All panels exhibit conference participants actively engaging with their audience in an indoor setting with a projector screen in the background displaying event content.
Capturing moments from the afternoon panel on May 6th, where Principal Associate Kayla Ripple (Far left) initiated the session and Senior Officer Sarah Close (second photo) delivered opening remarks. Featured at the top, panelists Phil Levin (University of Washington), Stephanie Green (University of Alberta), Abigail Golden (University of Washington), Yunzhou Li (Stony Brook University), and Brandon Muffley (Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council) engaged the audience. At the bottom left, Phil Levin and Stephanie Green shared insights, while at the bottom right, Yunzhou Li and Brandon Muffley contributed to the discussion
Lenfest Ocean Program

As the sessions came to a close on Thursday March 7th, the day dedicated to wrapping up the booth and attending final presentations from both grantees and colleagues. Engaging in some final networking opportunities, the LOP team reflected on key takeaways from the congress, recognizing the importance of continued collaboration and innovation in advancing fisheries science and management. Looking ahead, LOP is energized by the momentum gained and remains committed to supporting impactful research initiatives that contribute to the sustainable stewardship of our oceans.

The entire Lenfest Ocean Program Team standing behind an exhibit table at the conference with the banner "Lenfest Ocean Program 307" displayed above them, featuring images of a sea turtle and a flying bird. The table is covered with informational brochures and there's a sign that reads "Follow us online" with various social media icons.
The entire Lenfest Ocean Program Team. From left to right: Manager, Emily Knight, Senior Digital Associate, Victoria Bell, Senior Officer, Sarah Close, Senior Officer, Jason Landrum, Director, Charlotte Hudson, and Principal Associate, Kayla Ripple
Lenfest Ocean Program

To dive deeper into the work LOP funds and stay updated on its latest initiatives, visit our website, sign up for the monthly newsletter, and connect with the team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.