Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch is the executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science and a professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. Recognized as an international expert in ocean conservation science, she has authored and edited more than 100 articles and books on fisheries science and management. Dr. Pikitch spearheaded the first scientific consensus on ecosystem-based fishery management, which was published in the journal Science in 2004. More recently, she chaired the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force, which conducted the most comprehensive global analysis of forage fish management to date, releasing its report “Little Fish, Big Impact: Managing a Crucial Link in Ocean Food Webs,” in April 2012.
Dr. Pikitch also focuses research efforts on vulnerable and ecologically important marine species. She co-edited the first book to focus on pelagic sharks and their plight, and was a co-author of the first paper to estimate the number of sharks killed year, both of which energized and propelled the shark conservation movement. Another extensively exploited fish on which Dr. Pikitch has conducted substantial scientific research is the sturgeon.
The scientific work of Dr. Pikitch has informed policy decisions such as the listings of both the Atlantic and beluga sturgeon under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, a U.S. ban on the sale of beluga caviar, passage of the U.S. Shark Finning Prohibition Act, regulation of the international trade of six species of sharks, and more precautionary forage fisheries management.
Dr. Pikitch received a Ph.D. in Zoology from Indiana University and M.A. and B.S. degrees in Mathematics from the City College of New York.