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UM Rosenstiel School Professor Named Chair of ICCAT Scientific Committee

Accomplished fishery management expert David J. Die appointed to two-year term

MIAMI – University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science research associate professor David J. Die has been appointed as the new chair of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas’ (ICCAT) Scientific Committee of Research and Statistics (SRCS). Die will begin his two-year term as SCRS chair following the November 2014 meeting of the ICCAT Commission in Genoa, Italy.

The International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, which was formally entered into force in 1969, established the 49-voting members ICCAT Commission responsible for the study and management of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. About 30 species are of direct concern to ICCAT, the landings of which are valued at more than one billion dollars a year.

“I want to encourage the ICCAT SCRS to be the world leader among tuna regional fishery management organization in the implementation of ecosystem-based fishery management principles,” said Die, from the department of marine ecosystems and society at the UM Rosenstiel School. “I believe that only through the adoption of such principles in science and management will we be able to face the challenge of sustainably managing the high seas in the twenty first century.”

ICCAT has had several key accomplishments, such as sustainably managing tropical tunas, rebuilding the northern stock of Atlantic swordfish, implementing a plan for reducing seabird bycatch from tuna longliners, and outlawing shark finning in Atlantic waters. ICCAT still faces many challenges, including rebuilding overfished stocks such as Atlantic Bluefin tuna, white marlin and Atlantic blue marlin.

Die’s research is focused on developing an understanding of the mechanisms that are key to the sustainability of fisheries. Using mathematical and statistical models, Die provides assessments to support scientifically based resource management and quantitative auditing of fisheries management performance. For nearly 30 years, he has provided assessment and management of tropical fisheries worldwide and his research has been instrumental in the development of major management changes in several key fisheries.

Die is the first U.S. academic and only the third American to hold this position since the Commission was founded in 1969. More than 350 scientists annually contribute to the scientific work of ICCAT producing close to 200 scientific papers and population assessment for the most important harvested species of Atlantic open-ocean fish.

Die is also the associate director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), a research center that brings together ocean and atmospheric research capabilities at UM and eight other partner universities in Florida and the U.S. Caribbean to support the mission of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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