Stony Brook University in New York has announced the establishment of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science within the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, where scientists will conduct research designed to support smarter ocean policy by increasing knowledge about critical threats to the oceans and their inhabitants.
The institute has received $4 million in initial funding from private and public sources, including the Lenfest Ocean Program and the Pew Charitable Trusts, which also funded the Pew Institute for Ocean Science at the University of Miami in 2003. Researchers at the institute will investigate and pursue solutions to some of the most complex issues facing waters in New York state, the nation, and the world, including the sustainability of fisheries, conservation of threatened and endangered ocean wildlife, and ecosystem-based ocean management.
One of the institute's first initiatives will be to assemble and lead the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force of preeminent scientists and policy experts from around the world, which will address the depletion of forage fish from the oceans. Future initiatives will focus on the conservation of ancient sturgeons and open-ocean sharks, whose populations are declining due to destructive commercial fishing practices.
"Our oceans are in a state of emergency and need immediate help," said Ellen K. Pikitch, executive director of the institute. "The Institute for Ocean Conservation Science will generate the science needed to better safeguard threatened marine life and ecosystems, and we will use those findings to shape smarter policy. Our research team will build on the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences' impressive scientific track record and bring a strong conservation focus to the school. Together, we'll be an even more powerful force."