Events & Media


A Latin American Fisheries Fellowship and
Eco-Entrepreneurship Program Speaker

"Entrepreneurship and Technological Innovation in Fisheries Management."

Melissa Garren
Chief Scientific Officer, Pelagic Data Systems
Adjunct Research Professor, California State University Monterey Bay

Monday, May 22, 2017
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414
This presentation will be live streamed at

"Melissa is a fantastic speaker and a true pioneer working at the intersection of marine science and entrepreneurship. In this exciting talk, she will walk us through the details of her work supporting sustainable fisheries while successfully navigating the competitive startup scene."

— Gonzalo Banda-Cruz (MESM 2018), Latin American Fisheries Fellow

Traditionally, the efforts of small scale fisheries have been managed largely in the absence of data and have not been easily incorporated into the global picture of fishing effort. That means that the activities of the vast majority (~90%) of people employed in the fishing industry world-wide have remained unquantified and largely opaque. Pelagic Data Systems has developed a technology that harnesses solar power and cost-effective cellular networks to transmit data to provide a scalable vessel tracking solution to fill this need. Furthermore, capitalizing on the relatively inexpensive cellular networks to transfer the information enables data of much higher granularity to be captured compared with traditional vessel monitoring systems (VMS). By recording a vessel’s position every few seconds, instead of minutes to hours as is traditional, we are able to resolve a diverse array of behaviors happening at sea, including when and where fishing occurred and what type of fishing gear was used. When this information is integrated with other data streams, such as landings records, powerful decision making tools become accessible to management bodies, the research community, and individual fishing vessels. In addition, the ability to integrate vessel tracking data streams from multiple technologies is helping to fill in the global picture of when and where fishing occurs, to support robust data-based management and regulatory decision making. In addition to discussing the science and technology of our work, I will also provide some of the business context for how Pelagic Data Systems evolved as an enterprise.

Dr. Melissa Garren is a scientist and entrepreneur: a marine biologist with an interest in developing new tools that shed light on otherwise data-poor and hard to see processes spanning micro to macro scales. Her expertise lies at the intersection of technology and marine conservation, and she has extensive experience working with local communities and diverse groups of stakeholders to effect positive change on issues of fishery sustainability and nearshore water quality. As the Chief Scientific Officer at Pelagic Data Systems, an innovative technology company enabling transparency at sea for small-scale fisheries, she is responsible for providing scientific leadership and aligning the company's technology development programs with the needs of both the ecosystems and the communities dependent on them.

NOTE: Bren seminars are hosted by Bren faculty members and are generally high-level talks about research in a particular area of environmental science and management.


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