Pew’s Conquest Of The Ocean

By David Lincoln


This is the story of how a handful of scientists set out from Oregon with an unshakable belief that they knew what was best for the rest of us. They ended up conquering the world (or at least the watery portions of it) and got rich along the way, while the fishermen and their families only worked harder and got poorer. When their scientific dogma connected with nearly unlimited resources, the earth quaked and the resulting tidal wave swept aside all the usual checks and balances. It carried along the media, the politicians, the government agencies and the non-governmental organizations with such force that seemingly no one could stand against the tide.

The purpose of this investigation is threefold:

To trace the evolution of Ocean Management principles.
To begin to track the interaction of these few experts who were responsible for shaping and popularizing these concepts.
Pew Short-Bus To follow the spread of money, power and influence which made these Ocean Management strategies virtually inevitable.

Such an ambitious undertaking would not have been possible were it not for the fact that these few dynamic individuals served as magnets to attract attention to their cause and incredible wealth to whatever projects they controlled at a given time. They did this by ensuring that their theories were the only alternatives seriously considered as US policy was formulated and inexorably implemented.

The problem is that the Pew money machine provided a seemingly endless supply of cash and those who drank from this fountain of wealth became empowered to turn their every wish into reality. They became so adept at revving up the media engine that the science became secondary to their ability to spread their frantic message in ever widening circles.

Ultimately the Pew engine was positioned so far in front of the boat that all ocean science became tainted by Pew science and the best available science was constrained by the only available science. The mantra that “the oceans would soon be running out of fish” reverberated so often that Pew science only needed to fund those programs which were in search of the next great marine crisis to make their agenda the law of the land (and Sea).

With so much money being pumped through the Pew system, other sources of funding either dried up or were overwhelmed by the shear force of the Pew Ocean’s agenda. Over time, it no longer became necessary for anyone to read the policy papers that Pew directly or indirectly funded. Once you knew the title and saw the first paragraph, you would know which slice of the supposedly ever-shrinking pie you were being served on a silver platter.

The review that follows is only a partial overview of these experts’ activities and works with emphasis on those which had the most impact on fisheries management. It is hoped that by documenting the journey of these people, both conceptually and on the map, that some will rethink the pattern of influence which has brought us to this point. Then we can begin to seriously reconsider the alternative pathways both for past management decisions and future policy deliberations.


By the late 1980’s to early 1990’s all three marine scientists had become active in fisheries management. The Pew Charitable Trusts under the new Executive Director, Rebecca Rimel, became the second largest private foundation in America based on total giving. This was the around the time that Joshua Reichert, a sociologist with no marine science background, joined the Pew Charitable Trusts to administer the new “Pew Scholars Program in Conservation and the Environment” and the National Environmental Trust was established.

In 1986, Dr Ellen Pikitch was an Associate Professor at Oregon State University where she was working on a project for NOAA to define Catch Quotas.

In 1988, Pikitch et al published “An evaluation of the effectiveness of trip limits as a management tool.” And the following year she served on the Pacific Fishery Management Council, Scientific and Statistical Committee. Lubchenco was elected Vice-President (later President) of the Ecological Society of America.

In 1990, Rosenberg returned to Massachusetts and accepted the position of Chief of Research Coordination, at the National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole. A few years later, he became Research Specialist in Population Dynamics, Office of the Senior Scientist for NMFS in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he served until 1994.

Meanwhile, Jane Lubchenco was beginning her career in Ecosystem Management. Between 1977 and 1990 she published eighteen papers (often together with her husband Bruce Menge) dealing broadly with intertidal community interaction in the US coastal zones. Then in 1991, she began focusing on the sustainable biosphere and an ecological research agenda.

Pikitch published “Technological interactions in the U.S. West Coast groundfish fishery and their implications for management”. This was the same year that Carl Safina was awarded a Pew Fellowship for $150,000 to research and write the book “Song for the Blue Ocean.” Rosenberg et al published “Stock rebuilding strategies over different time scales.”

A year later, Lubchenco was awarded a Pew Fellowship for $150,000, part of which she used to set up the Aldo Leopold Fellowship Program, initially known as SpringGreen. Her program evolved from annual Pew Fellows meetings and was designed by Lubchenco to provide training for academic environmental scientists who wished to be more effective in outreach to the media and policy makers.

Rosenberg et al published “Fisheries risk assessment: sources of uncertainty.”

At this time, Robert H. Campbell took over as CEO of Sunoco, a position he held until he retired in 2000 after 40 years of loyal company service. He moved immediately to the Board of the Pew Charitable Trusts and is currently their Chairman.

In 1993, Lubchenco won the prestigious MacArthur “genius” award for $500,000, part of which she used to set up the Aldo Leopold Foundation while she was Director of the World Resources Institute. She and others also published “Priorities for an Environmental Science Agenda in the Clinton- Gore Administration” and “Pacific Ocean Ecosystems and Global Climate Change.”

Meanwhile, Pikitch chaired the Groundfish Subcommittee for the Pacific Fishery Management Council

Rosenberg et al published “Achieving sustainable use of renewable resources,” “Choosing a management strategy for stock rebuilding when control is uncertain”. “Fisheries: opportunities and concerns,” “Marine fisheries at a critical juncture?” and single-handedly he wrote “Defining overfishing – defining stock rebuilding.”

In 1994, Andy Rosenberg took over as Division Chief, Northeast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service and the following year he was named Northeast Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service NOAA in Gloucester Mass., a position he held until 1998. Here he served as the senior federal official for regional activities from Canada to Cape Hatteras. Part of his duties doing this period was to act as the Agency spokesperson to the public, Congress and internationally. He was the government’s chief negotiator for recovery plans for New England and Mid-Atlantic fishery resources and he was responsible for oversight of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.


Ironically, this was a period of great cooperation with universities in Canada. In his first year on the job, Rosenberg co-authored with Ransom Myers and others at Dalhousie Univ. (his old college) “In search of thresholds for recruitment overfishing”. Rosenberg et al published “Uncertainty and risk evaluation in stock assessment advice for U. S. marine fisheries”

In 1994, Lubchenco put forward her principles of “The Scientific Basis of Ecosystem Management.” and the Pew Scholars program shifted to recognizing fellows “which expanded the scope of the program beyond the academic science sphere to include individuals from the non-profit, government and private sectors.” It was also the year that the Univ. of British Columbia (UBC) established their Fisheries Science Centre (FSC) whose staff included Dr. Daniel Pauly.

According to the FSC website, “Pauly is a French citizen who completed his high school and university studies in Germany; his doctorate (1979) and habilitation (1985) are in Fisheries Biology, from the University of Kiel.” Dr. Pauly has authored or co-authored over 500 [over 400 since 1994] scientific articles, book chapters and shorter contributions, and authored, or (co-)edited about 30 books and reports.” The Fisheries Science Centre annual reports indicate that, since it was established, The Pew Charitable Trusts have provided more than $15 million in external research funds to the Fisheries Science Centre at UBC.

In 1995, Pikitch served on the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Committee on Ecosystem Management and Sustainable Marine Fisheries for a three year term. Lubchenco was elected to be President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and later their Chairman of the Board. Meanwhile Rosenberg and Myers published “Population dynamics of exploited fish stocks at low population levels” in Science.

In 1996, Lubchenco was named by Bill Clinton to the National Science Board and that year she was also named a Pew Fellow nominator (she participated in the Pew Fellows advisory Committee and was a Pew Fellows nominator until 1998). This was the year that Pew created Seaweb through a $2 million grant to the NRDC for improved Public Relations and Communications.

In that year, Beth Babcock was a fisheries doctoral student working as a summer intern for the NMFS Northwest group. She was working on a bioeconomic model of the trawl fishery and how landing limits influence target species for fishermen. Dr. Ellen Pikitch was Babcock’s major professor at the University of Washington and she was working with Dan Erickson at Oregon State University. Later, Dr. Pikitch and her partner Dr. Babcock went on to write dozens of fisheries papers together as they moved from one Pew position to another.

It was at this time that J. Howard Pew II took over as Chairman of the Pew Charitable Trusts. He was an innovator who pushed for more advocacy and emphasized depth rather than breath in giving. Pew Conservation grants for general environmental issues were refocused on marine conservation and later named the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation.


Within a year, that Pew Fellows program was relocated to the New England Marine Aquarium (NEAQ) in Boston and the “total of $1.5 million presented annually made the fellowships the world’s largest award for marine conservationists.” Jerry Schubel, NEAQ Pres directed the $500,000 in annual administrative fees while Gregory Stone (NEAQ Conservation Director) was an early recipient of a $150,000 grant under the new program. Since that time, the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation has awarded over 130 grants totaling more than $20 million.

Pikitch chaired the NEAQ, Aquatic Forum Series, on “Establishing an agenda for responsible fishing,” and joined the Ocean Wildlife Campaign coalition as their lead stock assessment scientist for four years.  Rosenberg et al publish “Assessing uncertainty and risk in exploited marine populations,” and “Precautionary management reference points and management strategies.” Rosenberg, somewhat hypocritically, published “Shielding fisheries from politics.”

In 1997, Pikitch served on the New England Fishery Management Council, Overfishing definition review panel and by the following year she began a two year role as the Chairman of their Scientific and Statistical Committee. At the same time Pikitch et al published “An overview of trends in fisheries, fisheries science and management in Global Trends: Fisheries Management which she co-edited
Lubchenco began serving a three year stint on the National Marine Fisheries Service, Ecosystem Principles Advisory Panel and during the same timeframe was on the Scientific Advisory Board of the PBS Radio Show “Living on Earth.” She also published “Revelation and the Environment AD 95- 1995.”

In 1998, Lubchenco published “Entering the century of the environment: A new social contract for science” and with others published “Marine reserves are necessary but not sufficient for marine conservation.” She also initiated the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and it was eventually relocated to Stanford Univ.
According to the website, the program consists of two weeks of communications and media training.

The first weeklong session focuses on leadership development and broad communications and outreach skills. Media representatives and communication specialists conduct “hands on” training, including mock interviews, writing for different audiences, and development of specific messages. The second session, focusing primarily on interaction with policy makers, industry and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), is held in Washington, D.C. The week includes modules on interacting with state and federal agencies, international environmental policy, and working with Congress. This week features a mock Congressional hearing where Fellows practice giving testimony concerning environmental legislation.”

Pikitch et al published “Individual transferable quotas, community based fisheries management systems and “virtual communities,” Meanwhile Rosenberg published “Controlling marine fisheries 50 years from now” and Lubchenco et al. published “No-take reserves: Protection for fishery populations and marine ecosystems.”

In 1999, Lubchenco began the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS) a consortium of academic scientists, SeaWeb, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium who work together to communicate marine conservation science to policy makers and the public. She also began a 10 year leadership role as Lead Principle Investigator of 13 Co-PIs for the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO). According to her resume:  “With $48 million in grants from the Packard and Moore Foundations, and an additional $30 million in leveraged and complementary funds, this consortium of four universities (OSU, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz) is revolutionizing our understanding of the nearshore marine ecosystems along the coasts of Oregon and California (1999-2009) with fundamental advances in science.”

Oceana was formed reportedly by contributions from five charitable trusts-the Oak Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Turner Foundation, the Surdna Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust, but Pew provided the largest share of funds.

That year, the Pew Charitable Trusts awarded $146 million in total grants to 448 organizations which was more than they had given out in the previous 25 yrs. Pew launched the Sea Around Us Project under the Fisheries Science Centre at the Univ. of British Columbia under the leadership of Daniel Pauly. External Research funding for the Fisheries Centre increased about 2 mill/yr from 1.5 mill/yr to roughly 3.5 mill yr at that time and it continued to rise until 2007. Pew also expanded the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation program to “include individuals working in the arts, communication, film, media and journalism in order to support public outreach and education about the oceans.”

At the New England Aquarium, Jerry Schubel along with consultants published a White paper entitled “Potential Environmental Consequences Of Petroleum Exploration And Development On Georges Bank” This paper was issued just as the Canadian government was considering an extension of a moratorium on Georges Bank. The Aquarium concluded that there was not enough information available to make a recommendation. This was followed by a paper by Schubel on Georges Bank Moratorium policy assessment and later on the “Role of Environmental Scientists in Public Policy – A Lesson from Georges Bank.”

The turn of the millennium was a particularly active period for Pew. The Pew Oceans Commission was created which included Jane Lubchenco as the most distinguished marine scientist. The commission initially also included Christine Whitman and Robert H. Campbell, the Chairman and CEO of Sun Oil Co, who became a board member of the Pew Charitable Trusts and is currently the Chairman of the Board for Pew, Hershey Company and a Director of Cigna Corp and Vical Inc.

In 2000, Dr. Ellen Pikitch became a Pew Fellow together with Dr. Amanda Vincent and others. Pikitch provided the SEFSC with a method of estimating the surplus production model from the Catch per Unit Effort. Babcock and Pikitch published “A dynamic programming model of fishing strategy choice in a multispecies trawl fishery with trip limits,” in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries an Aquatic Sciences.

Also in Canada, the Fisheries Economics Research Unit was funded at UBC (primarily by Pew) under the direction of economist Rashid Sumaila. In that year alone, Pew awarded $236 million in total grants worldwide.

Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy was formed championed by Andy Rosenberg. He along with others published “The precautionary approach  and risk management: can they increase the probability of successes in fishery management?” and “Ecosystem approaches to fishery management through essential fish habitat.” Lubchenco published “A New Social Contract for Science.”

Rosenberg joined the faculty of the University of New Hampshire where he remains as Professor of Natural Resources. He served as Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture for four years.

In 2001, the Ransom Myers Lab was opened at Dalhousie. Myers was joined by Boris Worm, a marine biologist and Assistant Professor in Marine Conservation Biology at Dalhousie University shortly after he completed his doctorate in Biological Oceanography from the University of Kiel, Germany. This coincidentally, is the same German university where Pauly completed his doctorate. Since that time, more than 100 articles have been published by Myers and also Worm at the Myers Lab.

Pew funded Oceana initially at more than $5 mill/yr and by the end of the year Pew had contributed $9.5 million. It is interesting to note when Pew was having such an impact on the development of U.S. Oceans policy the official history of the Pew Charitable Trusts “Sustaining the Legacy” published at this time doesn’t even mention the Oceans. The only reference to fishing is ironically the old adage about “teaching a hungry man to fish instead of merely giving him a fish”

At the same time Pikitch, Babcock et al published “Using Bayesian Methods And Decision Analysis As A Rational Basis To Dealing With Conflicting Stock Assessment Results While Providing Management Advice On Stock Rebuilding.” And later,”Using Bayesian Methods To Improve Stock Assessment and Management of Stock Rebuilding When There Is Uncertainty In Processes Affecting Future Recruitment” and finally “Evaluating The Relative Merits Of Alternative Methods To Weight Different Time Series Of Abundance Indices In Stock Assessment”

In 2002, Pikitch and Babcock released their “Critique of the NMFS report, “Relative Precision of discard rate estimates for the Northeast groundfish complex,” Additionally Pikitch testified in Federal Court in Boston on a lawsuit brought against NMFS and the Secretary of Commerce by the Conservation Law Foundation in an effort to toughen groundfish regulations. Dr. Pikitch declared that “No credible scientist could rule out the possibility that irreparable harm (in the sense of a severe and prolonged population collapse) might occur in a situation where populations are brought to, and kept at, extremely low levels.” This is a loaded statement because as NMFS pointed out “there is some finite risk that all populations will eventually go extinct. At issue, is the magnitude of the risk over a specified period of time.”

Pikitch meanwhile publishes a “Scientific Response to the CITES Justification for setting the 2002 Total Allowable Catch of Beluga Sturgeon (Huso huso) in the Caspian Sea,” for Caviar Emptor, her favorite crusade for saving sturgeon from the caviar addicted wealthy Eurasians. Project Seahorse, a biodiversity and marine trade study was brought to the UBC Fisheries Centre under the direction of Dr. Amanda Vincent, a Pew Fellow in 2000.

Rosenberg publishes “The precautionary approach from a manager’s perspective.”

Oceana débuted their new video “Empty Oceans, Empty Nets” with much fanfare at the United Nations. Pikitch introduced the showing and Lubchenco was prominently featured in the film. This video was broadcast on over 200 PBS television stations to well over 1.5 million households around Earth Day as part of a larger series on Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture and it is still regularly screened at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Calif.


In 2003, Marine Policy issues took a dramatic turn with the publication of the now famous letter by Myers and Worm titled “Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities” which appeared in the journal Nature and “Predator Diversity Hotspots In The Blue Ocean” in PNAS This was a carefully orchestrated media release of a highly controversial theory which claimed that 90 % of the large fish were gone since the advent of industrial fishing. This theory drew strong criticism including more than 30 critical responses from the marine scientific community most of which dealt with the fallacy of projecting biomass from catch per unit effort (CPUE) in a single fishery.

At the bottom of the page was the statement “This research was part of a larger project on pelagic longlining supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts.” Pew, of course, claimed that the work had been peer-reviewed, but in fact most of the reviewers had a conflict of interest due to their financial relationships with Pew. By this time, Pew was awarding grants totaling $180 million/yr from 3.8 billion in assets and more than 300 non-profit organizations were receiving funds from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

In May 2003 the New England Aquarium and Pew released the Ocean Fisheries Action Statement signed by 50 renowned marine scientists calling for the immediate end to overfishing. However, since most of the signatories were Pew fellows, the statement was not seen as unbiased.

This was the year that Andy Rosenberg published “Managing to the margins: the overexploitation of fisheries,” “Multiple uses of marine ecosystems” and he joined the UBC Fisheries Science Centre Intl Board of Advisors, a position which he has held to the current time. In June, Rosenberg went on tour to discuss the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy findings including an interview with NPR’s Living on Earth Radio Show. He, Ransom Myers and others all remarked on the similarities of the two commissions recommendations. Then, in July, the Pew Oceans Commission released its report “America’s Living Ocean: Charting a course for Sea Change”

Lubchenco presented testimony to the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, on the science of marine reserves. Lubchenco et al published “Ecological criteria for evaluating candidate sites for marine reserve” and “Application of ecological criteria in selecting marine reserves and developing reserve networks,” along with at least four other papers on marine reserves.

By the end of the year, The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation abruptly leaves the New England Aquarium and becomes a program of The Pew Institute for Ocean Science (PIOS) in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of Miami Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). According to their website

The Rosenstiel School is one of the world’s foremost institutions for research on coral reefs, aquaculture techniques, and commercially important fisheries. It runs the Center on Sustainable Fisheries and works closely with two neighboring institutions: NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory and the Southeast Fisheries Science Center.

It is also where NOAA houses their Center for Independent Experts and in fact all of these institutions are located within a few hundred yards of each other.

Dr. Ellen Pikitch, who by then was the Director of the Pew Fellows Program and Pew Institute of Ocean Science (PIOS) at RSMAS in Florida, together with Babcock, released a report with Oceana titled, “How Much Observer Coverage Is Enough to Adequately Estimate Bycatch?” In this report they argue that 20% coverage is enough for common species, but at least 50% is required for rare species. Pikitch also presented Environmental Sustainability, Ocean Issues, and the Millennium Development Goals.”

In February 2004, Rosenberg Lubchenco, Panetta and others held a joint press conference to announce the formation of the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative to carry out the recommendations of the two earlier commissions and to be directed jointly by none other than Rosenberg and Lubchenco.

In April 2004, the U.S Oceans Commission released their much anticipated report “An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century,” One of the recommendations was somewhat of a surprise.

“The commission report suggests an ocean trust fund much like the Highway Trust Fund administered by the Department of Transportation. The fund would come from money from leases for offshore activities, such as oil and gas exploration and recovery. Rosenberg says that future permitted activities, such as bioprospecting, wind farms and aquaculture, could join the list as they develop.”

This was a recommendation that the oil companies had long lobbied for because it ultimately ties coastal state revenues to offshore development activities and gives the states a vested interest in removing obstacles to leasing which could accelerate permit approvals.

The Pew Charitable Trust re-organized as a public charity. At the same time, they funded the Lenfest Oceans Program which was begun by Pew with $80 million in assets and $30 million in grants per year. Lenfest began awarding grants to the Canadian Science centers and nearly $400,000 of that money went to programs run by scientists at Dalhousie (including Myers & Worm)

Rosenberg became the Senior V.P. of Marine Resources Assessment Group (MRAG) which was given a contract from Lenfest to assess US fisheries recoveries plans initially supported at about $200,000. Rosenberg later became the President of MRAG Americas.

In 2005 Lightening struck twice for Myers and Worm, helped along by a little media magic from Seaweb. They published a paper in Science, called “Global Patterns of Predator Diversity in the Open Oceans.” Using data from long line fishing vessels again, they pointed to overfishing and climate change as the cause for up to a 50 per cent decline in biodiversity. According to a news interview of Worm:

“To get that message repeated throughout the world, Dr. Worm and Dr. Myers partnered with SeaWeb, a non-profit organization that uses strategic communications techniques to advance ocean conservation, located in Washington D.C. Upon learning of Worm and Myers´ newest paper, SeaWeb began working with them to promote the paper and its message in the media.

Dr. Worm says the key to working with media is preparation, to make it easy for journalists to get the story. “Most of the coverage we received, the reporters never actually talked to us, because the press release was sufficient. In two-and-a-half pages, all the information was there, and we provided interview clips.”

To produce this professional “on-air” interview, the researchers approached Findlay Muir, a videographer with the Centre for Teaching and Learning. They also scouted locations for a video shoot, selecting Chebucto Head as the appropriate backdrop. An interviewer with SeaWeb posed questions remotely from Washington, with both researchers responding and elaborating on their work while Muir did the camerawork. As soon the journal’s publication embargo had passed, SeaWeb distributed the interview material by satellite to its media contacts worldwide. The coverage benefited from having a visual aspect – the story was picked up internationally, by over 90 TV stations.”

In 2005, Rosenberg completed a report for Oceana called “Bycatch in U.S. fisheries, a National Analysis”. During that year Oceana listed annual revenue and support at more than $14 million

Lubchenco and others presented a “Scientific Consensus Statement on Marine Ecosystem-Based Management.” The Consensus was signed by 217 academic scientists with relevant expertise and published in COMPASS. In addition, Carl Safina, A Rosenberg, R Myers, and others published “U.S. Ocean Fish Recovery: Staying the Course” in Science and Rosenberg et al published “Implementing ecosystem-based approaches to management for the conservation of ecosystem services.” and “Combining control measures for more effective management of fisheries under uncertainty; quotas, effort limitation and protected areas.” Pikitch, Babcock et al Published “A perspective on the use of spatialized indicators for ecosystem-based fishery management through spatial zoning” and added “Marine Reserve Design and Evaluation Using Automated Acoustic Telemetry.”

In 2006, the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Task force (including Rosenberg and Lubchenco) released its report, “From Sea to Shining Sea: Priorities for Ocean Policy Reform,” presented as a national ocean policy action plan for Congress. Included in the recommendations were plans to strengthen NOAA and “Establish an Ocean Trust Fund in the U.S. Treasury as a dedicated source of funds for improved management and understanding of ocean and coastal resources by the federal and state governments.” Also, “securing additional funding to support management, science, and education programs that are the foundation of robust national ocean policy.” Reportedly, the Joint Initiative has identified $750 million in funding priorities that would be used for research, management and education programs. They have been issuing report cards annually grading progress on achieving their goals.

MRAG also released its report “Rebuilding U.S. Fisheries: A Summary of New Scientific Analysis:” by Rosenberg AA, Swasey JH, (both of MRAG) and co-authored by Bowman M., Director of the Lenfest Oceans Program who funded the study. According to the report, “The Program was established in July 2004 by the Lenfest Foundation and is managed by the Pew Charitable Trusts.”

An MRAG second phase report “A Review Of Rebuilding Plans For Overfished Stocks In The United States.” by John Wiedenmann, MRAG Americas, and Dr. Marc Mangel, of the University of California, Santa Cruz which went even further in recommending an end to overfishing and it too was “initiated and supported by the Lenfest Oceans Program.”
Rosenberg et al published “Resolving mismatches in U.S. ocean governance.”

“Designing marine protected areas for migrating fish stocks”, “Regional Governance and Ecosystem-Based Management of Ocean and Coastal Resources: can we get there from here?” and “Rebuilding US fisheries: progress and problems.” While at the same time he was co-PI for “The development of a public private partnership for advancing ocean policy in Massachusetts,” funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and was simultaneously working on a grant for “Comparative Analysis of Ecosystem-based Management Initiatives Around the World” funded by the Packard Foundation.

Worm et al published the highly controversial “Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services,” in which they claimed that “This [loss of biodiversity]trend is of serious concern because it projects the global collapse of all taxa currently fished by the mid-21st century (based on the extrapolation of regression in Fig. 3A to 100% in the year 2048). This outrageous claim has been repeated literally thousands of times and a Google search of “fish 2048” now yields over 1 million retrievals.

This was also the year that Congress reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act under heavy pressure from NGO’s to set catch limits and end overfishing at all costs. Lubchenco published “Can marine reserves or other forms of no-fishing zones help us solve problems facing the oceans today?” Pikitch et al contributed a letter in Ecology Letters called “Global estimates of shark catches using trade records from commercial markets”-
Pikitch also presented the report on Environmental Sustainability of the Ocean recommendations to the United Nations (after serving on the Task Force for two years.). Although the presentation was part of the Millennium Project commissioned by the UN Secretary General and supported by the UNDP, the Pew Logo and maps by Pauly and others from the Sea Around US Project at UBC were prominently displayed.

Task Force Recommendations
• Implement ecosystem-based fishery management
• Eliminate destructive fishing practices
• Establish network of marine protected areas
• Restore depleted fish populations

They demanded that “Global fisheries authorities must agree to eliminate bottom trawling on the high seas by 2006 to protect seamounts and other ecologically sensitive habitats”
This was the year that Robert H Campbell (Pew Chairman of the Board) received over a half million in annual compensation and stock options as a Director of Cigna Corp.

In 2007, The Worm lab transitioned from the Myers Lab. Upon the death of Ransom Myers, Worm became head of the Worm Lab at Dalhousie.

Robert H Campbell (Pew Chairman of the Board) received nearly $700,000 in annual compensation and stock options as a Director of Cigna Corp.

Over at UBC, Pew support for the Fisheries Science Centre exceeded $15 mill with most of those funds coming after the Sea Around Us Project was initiated.

This was the last year that Andy Rosenberg served on the FSC International Advisory Council having completed a 6 year term begun in 2001. Lenfest funded “Setting Annual Catch Limits for U.S. Fisheries” a largely MRAG study in which Rosenberg et al codified how the Regional Fisheries Councils would comply with the re-authorized Magnusun Act. Rosenberg et al also published “Four ways to take the policy plunge: How should researchers best interact with policy-makers for maximum benefit to society?”  Babcock and Pikitch et al published “Comparison of harvest control policies for rebuilding overfished populations within a fixed rebuilding time frame.”


In 2008, The Pew Institute of Ocean Science abruptly terminated its contracts with RSMAS in Florida and relocated to SUNY in Stony Brook, New York. Pikitch followed them to SUNY and published the report “Forage Fish: From Ecosystems to Markets” She conveniently chairs the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force. She and Babcock et al published “New frameworks for reconciling conservation with fisheries: incorporating uncertainty and ecosystem processes into fisheries management.”

Lubchenco et al. published “Resilience, robustness and marine ecosystem-based management.”

This was the year that Pauly resigned from UBC and Rashid Sumaila of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit, was named acting Director of Fisheries.

R. Anderson Pew was forced to retire from the Board of Directors SUNOCO due to his age, but he received more than $1million in deferred compensation. He was a Director since 1978 (30 years).

In 2009, The Joint Oceans Commission Initiative (including Lubchenco and Rosenberg) released a report “Changing Oceans, Changing World Ocean Priorities for The Obama Administration and Congress”

Ted Danson (the founder of Oceana) narrated and promoted the film “End of the Line'” which was selected for the Sundance Festival and then released to hundreds of theaters in the US and the UK. The trailer says that it is “the world’s first major documentary about the devastating effect of overfishing and “Scientists predict that if we continue fishing as we are now, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048.” The press packet states that it is “supported by numerous groups, including Greenpeace and Oceana.”

Lubchenco was appointed to be Undersecretary of Commerce and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, the head of NOAA, perhaps the most powerful position impacting ocean policy in the world. She will lead a $4 billion agency with nearly 13,000 employees stationed all over the U.S. and around the world. Rosenberg campaigned for her appointment and was her most vocal supporter when President Obama nominated her.

Worm, Rosenberg, et al published “Rebuilding Global Fisheries” in which Worm stated that he never meant for his 2048 doomsday date for the oceans to be taken literally. They got there 1 million hits on Google literally by accident?

Sumaila and others at Environmental Working Group (EWG) published “US Fisheries Subsidies,” in which they claimed that direct subsidies and financial support of U.S fisheries exceeded $700 million/yr. Shortly thereafter, Sumaila was named the Director of Fisheries Science Centre at UBC.

According to Pikitch’s resume  “During the past several years I have appeared on TV programs including CNN, CNBC, NBC News, Discovery News, EXTRA, and Wild about Animals, given numerous radio interviews and have been quoted in thousands of newspaper articles. My outreach activities have included Op-Ed’s and articles in newspapers, magazines, scientific journals, books, and technical reports.”

Rosenberg is positioned in MRAG to take advantage of NOAA’s requirement for observer coverage paid for by the fishing fleets under the system of Catch Shares which he helped to formulate. According to Rosenberg’s resume he has several works with others in press including “Two views: marine ecosystem-based management” and “Managing for cumulative impacts in ecosystem-based management through ocean zoning.” He lists Lubchenco as a professional reference

In 2009, the Pew Board consists of Robert H. Campbell, and 9 Pew heirs out of 14 Board members including R. Anderson Pew. The Pews have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to influence ocean management policies. Recently Pew announced that they were consolidating their operations in Washington D.C. in a single building with at least 300 people. Still, they plan to keep most of the operations and personnel they have in Philadelphia. Shouldn’t we be asking what is next on their agenda?