Events & Media

Christopher Costello Receives Prestigious Peter Benchley Ocean Award
Bren professor, one of eight 2016 recipients, is honored for his work in finding solutions.

Jan. 12, 2016

Santa Barbara, CA — Bren School professor Christopher Costello has been named the recipient of a prestigious Peter Benchley Ocean Award for 2016 for his work on sustainable fisheries around the world.

Chris Costello

This year the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards — often referred to as the “Academy Awards for the Ocean” — honor Costello and seven other ocean leaders, including the president of Palau, a New York Times investigative journalist, a French sailing expedition, and the mayor of a border town in San Diego County.

Past winners have included four heads of state, U.S. secretaries of state and defense, senators, leading marine scientists (Bren School dean, Steve Gaines, received the award in 2014), journalists, explorers, youth leaders, and citizen activists.

“This award is a tremendous honor, and I’m humbled to receive it, especially when I look at who has won it in the past,” said Costello, who received his award in the “Excellence in Solutions” category. “They’re people who have had a huge positive impact on the oceans, so this makes me want to work even harder to deserve it.

“I also see it as a reflection of the culture at Bren, which has us always thinking about how to combine natural science and social science to create solutions,” he added. “I value that about this place, and this award belongs equally to my colleagues in the fisheries work we do together, including our many international partners.”

The award release for Costello reads:

Peter and Wendy Benchley sailing off Nantucket in 1978. The Jaws author's eponymous annual awards are among the most prestigious for ocean conservation.

“Environmental economist Dr. Chris Costello is a co-founder of the Sustainable Fisheries Group, which combines economics and marine science to implement effective strategies for restoring the world’s depleted fisheries. Working with academic and advocacy partners, he has developed ways to align marine reserves and sustainable local fishing in tropical coastal nations including Indonesia, the Philippines, Belize, Brazil and Mozambique. He has also worked with the World Bank and others to promote “50 in 10,” a bold initiative to restore half of the world’s commercial fisheries to ecologically sustainable levels over the next decade. This effort is part of Costello’s practical vision that includes healthy wild fisheries, a healthy ocean, healthy coasts, and healthy communities whose economies and environment depend on them.

Announced on the first Monday of the New Year, the 2016 winners represent an array of marine expertise across many sectors of society. They will attend the 9th annual awards on May 20 at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, where they will receive award statues designed by acclaimed marine artist Wyland.

Read about the other winners.


Christopher Costello:

David Helvarg:
C. 202-491-6296

Wendy Benchley:
C. 609-635-1616