Meet Niza Contreras, FCP’s First Fisheries Opportunity Fund Fellow!


Niza is passionate about studying community-based fisheries management, particularly in Latin America, with a focus on using traditional conservation practices to develop adaptive solutions to the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems. She is bilingual in Spanish and English with dual US-Mexican citizenship. Niza hopes to bring both a transdisciplinary and a transnational perspective to these complex socio-ecological systems, with the recognition that climate change is breaking barriers and forcing us to reimagine our conventional divisions and definitions. Niza graduated from Stanford University as an Earth Systems major in 2020 with a focus on Oceans, Climate, and Atmosphere.

Read about Niza’s Summer Placement and Year 2 Capstone:
For my capstone project for the Coastal Science and Policy M.S. program, I plan to strengthen knowledge around climate adaptation strategy implementation in artisanal fisheries in México by documenting and sharing current strategies used by fishing cooperatives in Baja California Sur. Additionally, I aim to understand what social and ecological characteristics of the fishing cooperatives enable or constrain them from successfully implementing adaptation strategies. I plan to develop a knowledge-sharing platform that can be used by fisheries managers and decision-makers to see what strategies for climate problems have worked for other communities, why these strategies were successful in this community, and how they might be able to improve the adaptive capacity of their own community to successfully implement the same strategies.

I will work with the Mexican organization Comunidad y Biodiversidad COBI and ten cooperatives that are part of the federation FEDECOOP to conduct focus groups with fisheries managers, fishers, and community members. These focus groups will investigate the past, present, and future adaptation strategies that the cooperatives have developed in response to the different impacts of climate change they experience within their fisheries. I will work with COBI to share information on the strategies that I collect in a way that it can be easily accessed and understood by members of fishing cooperatives. The first step will be to include the data on COBI’s PescaData app, which serves as an information-sharing and social media platform for fishers and the fishing community in México. The second step will be to identify (or create) another platform where I can share more detailed information about different adaptation strategies in an informative and usable way.

This award was made possible by Giving Day 2021 donations. Please consider donating or sharing our call to donate so we may continue to support innovative research and diverse perspectives in fisheries science. 

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