I grew up in Boston where I developed an early love of all things marine, except, ironically, the taste of seafood. I arrived in Santa Barbara in 1999 to get a Ph.D. in marine ecology at UCSB. I have been a Research Fellow at UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) for 12 years now and have projects on marine spatial planning, coral reefs and genetics.
In 2011, I teamed up with famed urchin diver Stephanie Mutz and budding fisheries activist Jon Gonzalez to launch a Community Supported Fishery program called Community Seafood. Finally obligated to consume seafood to show support for my own CSF, I quickly realized that fresh seafood is delicious and easy to cook! Unfortunately, Community Seafood faltered from lack of capacity and ended in 2015; ever since I've wanted to start a new one.
In 2016, I began working with the Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara (CFSB) on a new initiative called FishSB to boost local support for our fisheries. I continue to serve as part-time executive director of CFSB and board member to the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishing Associations.
I am supported in these many endeavors by my partner, Ben Halpern, and my kids, Sadia and Max, who have all become pescatarians and benefit directly from my insider access to local seafood.
I grew up in Santiago, Chile. A landlocked city but as thin as Chile is the coastline is an hour away. From an early age, I developed a high appreciation for the ocean and seafood. I got a degree in Ecology and worked with small-scale fisherman in Chile, trying to understand how can collective action improve coastal resource management. I have been delighted by the interconnected human-ocean system learning about how to manage marine resources sustainably. This way, provide livelihoods to fishers now and in the future.
I moved to Santa Barbara in 2016 to get my Master’s degree at the Bren School of Environmental Management and Science. During my master’s, I worked with fishing communities in Quintana Roo, Mexico trying to understand the social, economic, and ecological benefits for fishers of marine no-take zones.
Working with fishers, it has become clear to me that we not only need to learn about fisher’s attitude towards the resources they depend on, but we also need to involve the broader audience. Connecting the local community to the ocean by providing access to fresh local seafood, helps boost up the local economy, provides environmental benefits, and enhances the coastal heritage.