Kerstin Forsberg has been awarded the prestigious Stanley Gray Fellowship to support her PhD research into elasmobranch conservation and fisheries management, which builds on previous work she has done.
Kerstin is also the founder and director of Planeta Océano, a Peruvian non-profit that empowers coastal communities in marine conservation through multi-disciplinary research, education and sustainable development initiatives. Her efforts have been acknowledged with the Rolex Award for Enterprise, the Forbes’ “30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs” list, Ashoka Fellowship, the WWF International President’s Award, the Peruvian National Environmental Citizenship Award, among others. Planeta Océano’s key actions include:
- Research on environments, fisheries and marine species, in order to generate information for sustainable management. Local volunteers take protagonist roles as citizen scientists.
- Marine education programs including initiatives such as: integrating schools in a “Marine Educators Network” and raising awareness among teachers, youth, children fishermen and authorities.
- Empowering environmental leaders and fostering environmentally-friendly economic activities such as ecotourism.
“The Stanley Gray Fellowship will constitute a critical support for the development of my career as a young marine conservation biologist and social entrepreneur. Completing my PhD in Marine Biology and conducting this research project will greatly catapult the impact I can achieve in the future as it will allow me to deepen my knowledge and scientific rigor in marine science, enhance my effectiveness in multidisciplinary project management and allow me to engage with other practitioners and students. I am honored and grateful to receive the Stanley Gray Fellowship and I look forward to sharing my experience with the young staff, volunteers and communities we work with in Planeta Océano.” Kerstin Forsberg, winner of Stanley Gray Fellowship.
More about Kerstin’s PhD research
Elasmobranchs constitute an important fishery resource in Peru. However, despite socio-economic importance of shark and ray fisheries, little is known on these species’ biology, population size and structure, on their interaction with fisheries and markets, and on local stakeholder’s perceptions towards conservation; creating barriers for adequate conservation and management.
This project aims to provide a multi-disciplinary biological, fisheries and socio-economic assessment of sharks and rays in northern Peru (Tumbes and Piura regions), with emphasis on scarcely studied hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna sp.), thresher sharks (Alopias sp.) and mobula rays (Mobula sp.), in order to contribute to management and threat reduction for these species.
Primary objectives of this research will be to:
- Collect data on the catch and effort in the shark and ray fisheries in the Tumbes and Piura regions (northern Peru),
- Use samples obtained by fishers to record the reproductive state, distribution and population structure of each species;
- Evaluate the market dynamics of sharks and rays in northern Peru by documenting the wholesale and retail sale of sharks and rays, the main retail areas, and the seasonality, utilization, and prices of these species;
- Investigate, through structured interviews to fishers and consumers, community perceptions towards elasmobranch conservation.
Information obtained will be used to develop specific recommendations to advance conservation and sustainable management of vulnerable sharks and rays in Peru.