On December 7, Ernesto and his wife packed their bags and made the rainy drive down to Oregon State University, in Corvallis, Oregon. Here, he was welcomed by Professor Brandt from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
While in Corvallis, Ernesto presented the ways in which EU Fisheries Policy can be used as a guideline for any regions fisheries, with a presentation titled “The reform of the common fisheries policy in 2013: opportunities and challenges”.
“Although Europe is very far away from the Pacific coast, European affairs and its fisheries policy actually draw a lot of interest,” Ernesto stated. Over 30 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty, attended the discussion between Ernesto and Dr. Carmel Finley, an author, researcher, and fisheries expert.
Topics ranged from the crucial importance of history in the development of the fisheries policy to the differences imposed on fisheries management by geographical regions. “It’s very evident how complex the EU’s fisheries policy is,” Ernesto said. “I was surprised, then, to see that the North West coast of America could have similarly complex policies.”
After discussing the differences in policies between the US and Europe, the students urged Ernesto and Dr. Finley to look at how policies have changed over time. “Both regions previously based policies on input from fisheries constituencies, but now we are moving to policies based on a much wider scope of societal interests”, said Ernesto, “with advantages and disadvantages existing on both sides of that coin.”
Audience members also questioned whether marine protected areas were really beneficial, and how to resolve issues around ‘choke species’, a term used to describe a species with a low quota that can cause a vessel to stop fishing even if they still have quota for other species.
“The ensuing debate was intense and interesting. I wish I could have stayed longer – the students had such great questions!” Ernesto recalled.
Overall, and beyond fisheries, this was a good opportunity for Ernesto to demonstrate how policies are made in the European Union and how Europe works as a whole.