Plenary Presentation Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Charting recovery during extreme and uncertain times - the role of science, leadership and a diversity of voices (#111)

Katherine Cheshire 1
  1. Department of Primary Industries, DPI Fisheries, NSW, Australia

As fisheries scientists and managers, we marvel at the complexity and beauty of the ecosystems we work and live on. But we also know all too well that these systems are in significant trouble. Over centuries we’ve lost many of our fish as a result of the changes we’ve made to natural systems. As science leaders it is on all of us to ensure that broader society is equally conscious of this beauty and the threats, and is engaged to partner with us in the recovery. To this end, we dedicate our careers to understanding the biology and ecology of our rivers and oceans. Just as important (although often neglected) is fostering an equally deep understanding of what connects all of us, as people, to our environment. If the current pandemic and recent bushfires, droughts and floods have taught us anything, it is how important connections are to us as humans - both with each other and our environment. Relationships with those around us and our environment nurture us. These connections will be critical as we chart a recovery for communities and the environment that sustains them. Throughout this conference you’ll see many talks by colleagues, some who are friends, outlining results from their research. This is not one of those talks. Instead, I want to share a bit of my journey. How I look these imperilled ecosystems and what I bring to leading a research group. How working with people, whether connected to rivers intellectually, financially or spiritually brings a diversity of perspective and knowledge that has not only enriched how I view rivers, but more importantly shapes the way we research and manage NSW freshwater fisheries.