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New Study Finds a Surprising Lack of Diversity Among Fisheries Scientists

Photo of Researchers pull a beach seine in Reloncovi estuary, southern Chile, while fishing for native galaxiid juveniles. Ginger Penaluna, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Researchers pull a beach seine in Reloncovi estuary, southern Chile, while fishing for native galaxiid juveniles. Ginger Penaluna, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Women and minorities are a small portion of tenure-track faculty and federal-government professionals in fisheries sciences, likely because of systemic biases and cultural barriers. This research has become a starting point for conversations about workforce diversity at national and local levels.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Penaluna, Brooke 
Research Location : National
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 990

Summary

There have been many recent discussions about complex problems that arise in natural resources, such as fisheries, and how those issues may be best addressed with a broad collection of knowledge, skills, and experiences found in a diverse workforce. However, there were no numbers indicating the diversity of the fisheries science workforce. To learn more, scientists assessed the race/ethnicity and gender diversity in the professional/academic fisheries science workforce in the United States. They found that women and minorities are a small portion of tenure-track faculty and federal-government professionals, likely because of systemic biases and cultural barriers. Women generally make up about 25% of the fisheries science workforce, and less, about 15%, as the rank of the position increases. However, the lack of diversity is even more pronounced when analyzed by race, with only roughly 10% of all fisheries science manager and faculty positions occupied by minorities.

The 2016 President of Society of Freshwater Sciences cited these findings in a call to diversify the field of aquatic ecology. American Fisheries Society, the largest fisheries organization in the world, used this paper to launch a discussion about diversity in the society and across the discipline nationally.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Oregon State University