CRC’s New Director Takes Helm in January

Anton Post at CRC, Narragansett RI, URI Bay Campus, October 2014
Dr. Anton Post outside CRC at the Graduate School of Oceanography. (Michael Salerno photo)

Anton F. Post, senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., has been appointed director of CRC. He succeeds Stephen Olsen, the founding director who led CRC for 40 years until his retirement in 2012. Post begins his new role in January. CRC’s International Programs Director Dr. Brian Crawford had been serving as the Center’s interim director since Olsen’s retirement.

He will be responsible for providing overall leadership and directing all programs and operations at CRC, which develops policies and programs to help manage coastal zones in the U.S. and abroad. He will oversee an annual budget of $8 million and 22 employees in Rhode Island, as well as numerous contract employees overseas.

“Dr. Post is a distinguished marine scientist with broad administrative experience in a number of positions,” said Bruce Corliss, dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography. “I am delighted that he will join the GSO faculty and provide leadership to the Coastal Resources Center as we build on the excellent program that has been developed over the years dealing with the management, policy and science of the oceans.”

Post holds academic and research appointments at several leading institutions. In addition to his role at the Marine Biological Laboratory, he is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University and program director in the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation. He previously served as a professor at Hebrew University and a researcher and lecturer at the University of Amsterdam.

“The Graduate School of Oceanography has a deeply rooted tradition in marine sciences and is ranked among the leading oceanography institutions in the U.S., both in terms of education and research. It is a privilege to become a member of this thriving community and bring my expertise in marine microbial ecology to complement the broad range of exciting research topics that are being entertained at GSO,” said Post, who will also hold an appointment as a URI professor of oceanography.

His research focuses on the biology of algae and its ecology, evolution and genomics. He has studied plankton on research expeditions in the Ross Sea off Antarctica, the Great Lakes, the Red Sea, the Pacific Ocean and elsewhere. Post received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Amsterdam and served as a postdoctoral research fellow at Hebrew University.

“Global change alters the coastal ocean through rising seawater levels, progressing acidification, expanding oxygen minimum zones, changing biodiversity, etcetera. These changes also affect coastal communities with respect to the impact on the physical environment by shoreline erosion, changing groundwater levels, salinity intrusions, but also economically by challenging local fisheries and shellfish aquaculture activities to name just a few examples,” said Post. “I look forward to working with GSO and CRC staff on addressing these emerging challenges in their regional, national and international projects.”

USAID Awards CRC $24 Million to Lead Sustainable Fisheries Project in Ghana

Brian Crawford poses with the chief fishermen at a village in Ghana. (Credit: Coastal Resources Center)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a $24 million grant to the Coastal Resources Center (CRC) at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography to lead a five-year sustainable fisheries project in Ghana, West Africa. The grant is the largest in URI history.

The objective of the USAID/Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project is to rebuild key marine fisheries stocks through responsible fishing practices.

Ghanaian fishing boats return to their village to unload their catch.

“This will be a very challenging and ambitious project. If successful, our work with the Ghana Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development will reverse the trend in declining fish catches,” said Brian Crawford, who will move to Accra, Ghana to lead the project for URI. “With improved management, tens of thousands of metric tons of high-quality, low-cost fish protein supply can be recovered, benefiting not only tens of thousands of fishermen and women processors, but improving food security for millions of people in Ghana and its neighbors in West Africa.”

The project is part of USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative and will meet the government of Ghana’s fisheries development objectives. Working closely with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Ghana Fisheries Commission, the project seeks to end overfishing of stocks important to local food security. It will accomplish this by working to ensure a legal framework exists for adoption of management plans that give use rights to the fishermen/women; ensuring decisions affecting fisheries and ecosystems are based on strong science; and widely communicating knowledge and information that educates the public and policy makers, so that support for lasting change emerges.

More than 100,000 men and women involved in the local fishing industry are expected to benefit from this project. Included will be tens of thousands of women involved in the processing and marketing of smoked fish.

“We are very proud of CRC and its outstanding record of outreach and education,” said Bruce Corliss, dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography. “The center does outstanding work on coastal policy and planning, both in Rhode Island and abroad, and this award demonstrates the confidence USAID has in CRC’s performance and its international leadership in this field.”

In leading this project, CRC will work with a consortium of international and local partners, including SNV Netherlands Development Organization, SSG Advisors, Hen Mpoano, Friends of the Nation, the Central & Western Fish Mongers Improvement Association in Ghana, Daasgift Quality Foundation, Development Action Association, and Spatial Solutions.

Included in project activities will be efforts to reduce child labor and trafficking in the fisheries sector in the Central Region of Ghana. The project also includes a university strengthening component with the University of Cape Coast to improve their applied research and extension services in coastal and fisheries management.

BaNafaa Project Highlighted on Sustainable Tourism Website

A website on eco-tourism, Sustainable Tourism World by Sara Vitali, prominently features CRC’s recently concluded BaNafaa project in The Gambia. The piece includes photos of fishermen and women and mentions the precedent-setting use rights given to the TRY Oyster Women’s Association. It goes on to highlight several aspects of the project, including poverty reduction, biodiversity conservation and food security efforts as well as WASH activities and the sole fishery’s pursuit of MSC certification.