April 30, 2018
The Rob Stewart Award for Marine Conservation has crowned it’s first winner. Isabelle Hurley, from Dalhousie University, earned the award due to research on bycatch on the Grand Banks and along Nova Scotia’s South Shore. At the ceremony, she alongside the other five finalists gave three-minute presentations on their research subjects. The topics ranged from studies on Atlantic Torpedo Rays to turtle behavior in high-volume snorkeling areas in Mexico.
Hurley’s work focuses on bycatch in halibut fisheries in Atlantic Canada. Halibut is one of Canada’s most valuable fish species, and is known to catch large amount of bycatch, including vulnerable species such as Atlantic cod and spiny dogfish. Her studies look into how halibut fisheries affect ecosystems on Newfoundland’s Southern Grand Banks and Nova Scotia’s Scotian Shelf. Understanding the ecosystem impact of these fisheries can inform fishery management and lead to better policies.
The award is named after the late Rob Stewart, whose tireless work on shark conservation and ocean protection campaigns continue to inspire environmentalists around the world. It will be awarded yearly to researchers and environmentalists who carry on the legacy of Rob with a passion for marine conservation and whose body of work effects positive changes in the field.
There award grants the winner a $1000 prize to further their career in marine conservation. Hurley is starting her masters in September under Dr. Boris Worm, who collaborated with Stewart on his films Sharkwater and Revolution, and Dr. Derek Tittensor.
Rob Stewart’s latest film, Sharkwater: Extinction, is set to be released in the fall of 2018.