Natalie Miaoulis
Author: Maillis
2022

Natalie Miaoulis

Ocean advocate

Reeling in trust

meet natalie

Natalie Miaoulis holds a master of science in international food and resource economics from the University of Florida. Natalie has experience in fisheries economics, specifically research on the viability of a commercial lionfish fishery in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She currently serves as a fisheries specialist for the nature conservancy’s (TNC) Northern Caribbean program. During her time with TNC, the Bahamas have received the International Marine Stewardship Council’s certification for sustainability for spiny lobster. She is a certified rescue scuba diver and recreational fisher. Natalie is passionate about how the sustainability of fisheries directly impacts local communities.

Reeling in trust
Nominated by: Ted Janulis MR'95
Class of 2022 Location USA

Research and policy creation are critical to fisheries sustainability. In the past, those directly impacted by this work have not been included in the process. This resulted in mistrust of the scientific research community and, often, ineffective policies. Local communities and resource users who are directly impacted deserve to be a part of the process. When we combine local knowledge, we strengthen research, policy and local execution. I strive to build bridges and inclusivity for fishers and local community stakeholders in research and policy creation.

“I believe that this work is an example that building bridges with local fishers and communities is possible and results in more successful, equitable, inclusive and robust research, and in policies with true positive impacts.”

- Natalie Miaoulis

One example is the Bahamas queen conch fishery, which generates over $7 million per year and helps to support thousands of households throughout the country. My project engages fishers in a conch maturity sampling process, including weighing and measuring, studying reproductive tissue, and recording data. As part of this reciprocal learning opportunity, fishers share their experiences of working with conch almost daily. I have found that through pre- and post-project surveys, these engagements and this bridge building increases fishers’ support for further research and policy creation.

I believe that this work is an example that building bridges with local fishers and communities is possible and results in more successful, equitable, inclusive and robust research, and in policies with true positive impacts. I look forward to a future where scientists, policy makers and local communities are a unified body working to ensure sustainability.

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