Annabelle Bladon

I am an interdisciplinary conservation scientist interested in the social and ecological challenges of sustainable fisheries management. I focus on the design, implementation and evaluation of management policies and interventions, with particular expertise in data-poor, developing-world fisheries.

Regulatory fisheries management interventions such as spatial and temporal closures often carry short-term costs for local fishing communities and can therefore be met with resistance and non-compliance. A recent proliferation of research attempting to reconcile the conservation of fishery resources with development and poverty alleviation has therefore highlighted the opportunity to use conservation payments as an alternative or complementary approach to conventional command and control fisheries management, to alleviate these costs.

The aim of my PhD was to explore whether social and ecological objectives can be met through payment systems in data-poor, developing-world fisheries. The focus of this research was the Bangladesh hilsa shad (Tenualosa ilisha), a small-scale marine and freshwater species in the herring family. Not only does hilsa play an important role in livelihoods and food security, it is a fish of huge religious and cultural importance. It thus forms the largest and most valuable single-species fishery in Bangladesh. An apparent decline in catch since the 1970s has prompted the Government of Bangladesh to introduce a number of management interventions, including a compensation scheme for the poorest households affected by fishing regulations.

The hilsa fishery is typical of the developing world in terms of weak monitoring and enforcement, lack of data and poor ecosystem understanding, and as such provided a good case study for exploration of some of the questions surrounding the use of payment systems in challenging circumstances.

My PhD was supervised by Professor E.J. Milner-Gulland (Imperial College London), Katherine Short (F.L.O.W. Collaborative) and Essam Yassin Mohammed (International Institute for Environment and Development), with funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

2014-2016: Freelance Consultant 2016: Strategic Partner, Terra Moana

2015-2016: Visiting Researcher, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, and Department of Environmental Studies, New York University

2014-2015: Visiting Researcher, International Institute for Environment and Development

2012-2016: PhD Researcher in Marine Conservation Science, Imperial College London

2012: Communications Assistant, SeaWeb, London

2011-2012: Aquatic Conservation Intern at Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Research Officer at WildTeam, Bangladesh

2011: Research Assistant, Marine Conservation International, Cayman Islands

2010-2011: MRes in Ecology and Environmental Management (Distinction), University of York

2007-2010: BSc (Hons) in Biology (1st), University of York

Lecturer at New York University on ‘Topics in Marine Ecology and Conservation’, October 2015

Speaker at International Congress for Conservation Biology, Montpellier, France, August 2015, on ‘An assessment of social targeting in a compensation scheme for hilsa fishers in Bangladesh’

Panelist at European Development Days, Brussels, Belgium, June 2015, on ‘Balancing carrots and sticks for fisheries management’

Speaker and panelist at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit, New Orleans, USA, February 2015, on ‘Meeting industry information needs for sustainability: science, metrics, financing and communications’

Speaker at Bangladesh Government Department of Fisheries multi-stakeholder workshop, Dhaka, Bangladesh, January 2015: ‘Equitable Benefit Sharing Mechanisms for Hilsa Conservation’  

Annabelle Bladon