Tuesday, May 16

Ecology of Microplastics and Mercury Contamination within Food Webs of Estuarine and Coastal Ecosystems


Mario Barletta

Professor, Oceanography Department, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil

Marine ecologist, full Professor at the Oceanography Department of the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) in Recife, Brazil. Responsible for lecturing on disciplines such as "Marine Nekton '' and "Ecology of Estuarine Ecosystems" at under-graduation and postgraduate levels. Registered as Master and Doctorate supervisor at the Oceanography Pos-Graduation Program (UFPE). Research interests are on Estuarine and Coastal fish assemblages Ecology, Artisanal Fisheries, Marine Pollution Ecology of continental, estuarine, and coastal connectivity, Experimental design for hypothesis testing, and data handling for ecological/coastal studies.

The Future of Fishing in Latin America:
Sustainability and Research

Pablo Arenas

Pablo Arenas Fuentes

National Director, Instituto Nacional de Pesca y Acuacultura, Mexico

Biologist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico –(UNAM), 1976. Masters in sciences from UNAM, 1978, in Natural Resources Management and Population Ecology. Ph.D. in Fisheries Management and Conservation, 1988, from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. He began his professional carrier at the now National Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute (INAPESCA) in 1977. He has more than 40 years of national and international experience on management and assessment of fishery resources and in general, on natural resources conservation, population dynamics, analytical approaches, coordinating research, sustainable development, and policy for industrial and artisanal fisheries. Dr. Arenas has represented Mexico in many fora to promote international agreements for, among others, the management, conservation and sustainable development in fisheries, and conservation of marine mammals and sea turtle issues. Advisor for Bachelor´s, Master´s and Ph.D. thesis. Member of professional associations and editorial committees. Ha has published over 65 technical and scientific papers. He received the “Gabino Barreda” award as the best biology student in 1976 and the "National Award in Marine Ecology and Conservation" in 1988 in Mexico. His professional career includes: • Principal Scientist and Principal Researcher at the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), in La Jolla, Ca, USA where he worked 18 years. • Coordinator of the Mexico-United States Joint Program on Assessment of Pacific Small Pelagics (NOAA and INAPESCA), 1986. • Coordinator and ecological-fishing activities analyst on climate change at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in Washington, D.C.,1988-1989. • General Director of Research Assessment and Management of Fisheries Resources from 1995 to 2000 at INAPESCA. Coordinator among others, of the first National Fisheries Chart and the book "Sustainability and Responsible Fisheries in Mexico" and of technical strategies for the tuna embargo resolution (tuna-dolphin issues). • Coordinator of the Gulf of California and the North Pacific Marine Initiative for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), 2014. He is the General Director of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute in Mexico since January 16Th 2015.

Wednesday, May 17

Working with and for People:
The Critical Components of Innovative and Sustainable Conservation


Leo Miranda-Castro

CEO, Leo Miranda, LLC

Leopoldo “Leo” Miranda-Castro is the President, CEO and founder of Leo Miranda LLC (Est. 2023). Before that, he was the Southeast Regional Director of the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2018-2022). He oversaw the work of approximately 1,300 federal employees in carrying out the Federal Government’s partnership role in conserving fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within 10 southeastern states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Leo began his work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a Private Lands biologist in his native Puerto Rico, later becoming the national coordinator for the private lands program and then Program Supervisor of the Service’s Chesapeake Bay Field Office in Annapolis, Maryland. He then was selected as the Assistant Regional Director of the Southeast Region’s Ecological Services Program. An advocate of public-private conservation partnerships, he points to the success of the shade-grown coffee industry, sustainable timber production and protecting military bases buffer zones in conservation as examples of how government organizations and private landowners can work together to achieve real "win/win" outcomes for people and for wildlife. On any given weekend, you are likely to find Leo in a tree stand or by a river, hunting or fishing with his son, Pablo. Leo attributes much of their shared love of nature and commitment to conservation to the pursuit of these outdoor recreational pastimes, and hunting in particular. Leo is a career Senior Executive Service, the highest career-level position in the federal government. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master of Science in Zoology from North Carolina State University.

Evolution of freshwater fisheries research and monitoring along the West Coast of the United States and recommendations for Latin America and the Caribbean


Doug Demko

President, FISHBIO

Doug Demko is the President and founding member of FISHBIO, an environmental consulting firm specializing in fisheries research, monitoring, and conservation. Trained in fisheries biology and environmental law, Doug’s 25 years of experience in fisheries studies, facilitation, and negotiation have earned him the reputation of a regional fisheries expert in fishery flow and Endangered Species Act issues. He currently advises large water coalitions, private corporations, city and county governments, and environmental groups on a variety of fisheries and water resource management issues. Doug has advised and worked with various politicians and their staff, has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., the California State Legislature, and regularly before the California State Water Resources Control Board. Doug’s expertise includes fish life-history research and assessment; fish passage assessment; and fish population dynamics of California native fishes, estuarine species, and introduced species. Doug has led a variety of field research projects including mark-recapture studies to evaluate survival and entrainment, mortality and behavioral studies, limiting factor analyses, salmonid outmigration and survival characterizations, and abundance and distribution analyses. His extensive experience with fish population assessment and state-of-the-science technologies has led to new and innovative approaches in the field of salmonid research. Doug holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University, Chico, and a J.D. from CalNorthern School of Law.

Thursday, May 18

Marine recreational fishing:
Challenges and opportunities for development in coastal communities

mararri 2

Marina Marrari

Executive Director, Federación Costarricense de Pesca (FECOP), Costa Rica

Dr. Marina Marrari graduated with a degree in Biological Sciences from the National University of Mar del Plata, Argentina, and continued her graduate studies in the United States as a Fulbright LASPAU-OAS scholar. She obtained her PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida in 2008 and did postdoctoral work at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center training in the use of satellite data for fisheries applications. She joined FECOP in 2018 where she currently serves as Executive Director. FECOP is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of responsible fishing practices and the conservation of marine organisms, particularly species of tourist interest that support marine tourism and the development of coastal communities in Costa Rica. Dr. Marrari’s interests include the use of satellite technologies for studies of environmental variability, the effects of environmental change on marine ecosystems, marine conservation, and the use of science as a tool for public policy advocacy.

Adapting Market-based Tools to Mobilise Supply Chains to Address the Priority Improvement Needs of Small Scale Fisheries


Enrique Alonso

Global Fisheries Director, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

Enrique Alonso is responsible for managing SFP’s field programs that focus on wild-capture fisheries in Latin America and Southeast Asia. He leads global initiatives that promote improvements in small-scale fisheries and engages the seafood supply chain to foster policy change in national and regional fisheries, while supporting SFP's overall strategy for improvements in other fisheries. Enrique is a social scientist with extensive experience in fisheries, both as a researcher and a practitioner. Prior to joining SFP, he worked as a Technical Advisor for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Program for South and Southeast Asia in Timor-Leste, and conducted consultancies for a number of international organizations, such as the FAO and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Before his current position, he led the Latin America Fisheries program at SFP. Enrique has an MSc in coastal and marine sustainable systems management and a PhD in social and cultural anthropology from the University of A Coruña in Spain.