What attracted you to the field of fisheries science/aquaculture?
I have always been fascinated by the ocean. Growing up during the cold war, I was concerned about global social issues related to the environment, war, hunger, and poverty. I was able to combine my interest in the ocean with my social concerns by working in aquaculture development in the Philippines and then Haiti. Later, when I went back to school, I was motivated by the need to discover information that is critical to finding ways to balance the needs of humans with a healthy environment. This theme still drives me. Recently though I have added exploring the role of seafood in human health, and the implications for its responsible production in a changing environment.
Where do you work currently?
I am the Science Advisor for NOAA's Office of Aquaculture in Silver Spring, Maryland, but I am based in Seattle, Washington. My role is to bring science to the organization's policy and management decisions, and to provide strategic guidance to its aquaculture science portfolio.
How do you see ICES role in the world of aquaculture science in the future? What can it offer in the field?
Aquaculture is a bit out of the typical focus for ICES, so I would first like to applaud the organization for taking it on. The member countries represent western aquaculture, which is, and will continue to be, a mixture of technology, scale, and approaches, all in the context of a strong environmental ethic, a high standard of living, high wage rates, sub-optimal seafood consumption , and a generally high dependence on seafood imports. These drivers are different to those of eastern aquaculture, which currently dominates world production. ICES is perhaps the best organization to bring together strong science capabilities from a great many institutions to define and refine what western aquaculture is. But for ICES to live up to its potential it will need to provide value to the research community as well.
What message would you like to send to the ICES community upon your introduction to your new role?
It's the people that make the organization worthwhile, and I hope we can grow the aquaculture science portfolio together. I am looking forward to meeting and interacting with the ICES community. I am currently coming up to speed on past ICES activities and would welcome any opinions and suggestions on what has or has not worked in the past and any vision you might have for the future.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I hope to hear from you.
Mike Rust leads the new Aquaculture Steering Group at ICES.