I am a reef rescuer?

August 2009

La Jolla, CA

I appeared in the August 2009 edition of Reader’s Digest in an article called “Reefs at Risk” by Steve Chappell. Now, hopefully, the Digest’s 23 million worldwide subscribers know what’s up (i.e., the reefs are pretty well screwed).

Excerpt where I’m featured:

  • “Working with local fishermen is of paramount importance,” adds Ayana Johnson, a Scripps PhD candidate who is researching ways to stop the over- fishing that’s destroying so much coral—while still allowing fishermen to earn a living. She’s developed an arrowhead-shaped fish trap that allows young snappers, groupers, and tangs to escape. A normal trap kills an average of 12 fish; Johnson’s traps let six of those go. “If 100 traps are in use on the island 100 days a year,” says Johnson, “that’s 60,000 fish left alive to graze seaweeds and algae off coral reefs and to reproduce. That’s a lot of fish, and it’s a lot better than telling fishermen to quit fishing and go get a job in a hotel.”

The other people in the photo are all professors on my dissertation committee, Jeremy Jackson, Nancy Knowlton, and Jennifer Smith. The caption labels us “reef rescuers” – an aspiration, but not a fact, for me. Maybe step one is to get the right cape? No, step one is to stop writing about it and get back to strategizing.