University of Oxford,
Department of Zoology,
11a Mansfield Road,
Oxford OX1 3SZ, UK
With a naturalists passion for biodiversity and the outdoors, a humanists desire to tackle poverty and improve human lives, and a scientists thirst for knowledge, conservation science has always felt like the ideal career path for me.
My career and research background to date has been somewhat diverse, spanning three continents and several themes, from international environmental policy in Cambridge, UK; to community-based tourism in Ethiopia; to protected area management in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania; to saving sharks in Indonesia.
Despite this variety, I have always maintained a common interest in understanding and managing synergies and trade-offs between conservation and human well-being. I don’t have an obsession for a particular species or geographic region*, but rather enjoy researching complex conservation issues in challenging contexts, especially where the results of the research can lead to direct practical impacts ‘on the ground’ as well as transformational change at scale.
(*But it helps if there’s forests to hike in, oceans to dive in, or waves to surf on!)
I am interested in conducting applied research on how to solve tricky conservation problems. In particular, I’m interested in using mixed-methods approaches to understand ecological, social and economic aspects of conservation/resource management issues, and designing policy and management measures to optimise trade-offs between conservation objectives and human well-being, for practical and ethical conservation action.
My PhD research focuses on understanding and balancing trade-offs for practical and ethical shark conservation in the coral triangle.
Sharks and their relatives (Class Chondrichthyes) are one of the world’s most threatened species groups. This elevated extinction risk is a product of high levels of fishing mortality in both target and by-catch fisheries, and conservative life-history traits which make most shark species particularly vulnerable to overfishing. Practical fisheries management action is required at national and local levels to significantly reduce shark fishing mortality. In particular, actions that influence fisher behaviour at ‘the point of kill’. At present, shark fisheries management is largely non-existent outside of a few hyper-developed nations (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, USA), while lower-income countries make up the majority of global shark fisheries.
Creating systems and incentives for implementing shark conservation at the local level is challenging, particularly in lower-income countries. This is in part because commercial exploitation and trade of sharks generates considerable economic value and employment opportunities in major shark fishing nations. What is more, high volumes of sharks are caught as by-catch - in the commercial sector, as well as in small-scale, mixed-species fisheries, where sharks can serve as an important source of animal protein and food security in marginalised coastal communities. Concurrently, instruments and incentives to drive adoption of sustainable fishing practises and by-catch mitigation strategies are lacking. There is a need to drive change in the fishing industry, across small-scale and commercial sectors, and targeted and by-catch shark fisheries, to achieve conservation outcomes for sharks whilst maintaining well-being of vulnerable coastal communities and the economic value of Indonesia’s fisheries resources. The Coral Triangle region is a global priority for shark conservation, as it’s both a hotspot of shark species diversity and a hotspot of shark fishing pressure and trade. What is more, people in the region are highly dependent on marine and fisheries resources for food security and livelihoods.
Acknowledging these needs and challenges, this research aims to better understand some of the trade-offs between human well-being and shark conservation, and design practical management options for optimizing these trade-offs in case study communities and shark fisheries. The research approach will be inter-disciplinary, drawing on methods from fisheries science, behavioural economics, anthropology and public administration, in order to answer the following overarching questions:
1. What are some of the key trade-offs between human well-being and shark conservation/fisheries management, at different scopes and scales? Answering this question involves an overarching review/empirical analysis of the links between shark resource use and human well being
2. What are some practical management options for optimizing trade-offs between shark conservation and human needs in different fisheries and socioeconomic contexts? Answering this question involves a case study approach, taking a detailed look at several fishery types in the coral triangle region to understand practical fisheries management options for reducing shark fishing mortality in the different fisheries, and different instruments/incentives that can be used to improve compliance and mitigate potential negative impacts on the well-being of fishing communities.
Imperial College London, MSc Conservation Science | Grade: distinction
Thesis: Evaluating the impact of conservation policy: the case of manta ray catch and trade in Indonesia
University of Cambridge, BA (Hons) Natural Sciences and Management Studies | Grade: first class
Thesis (Part II Management Studies): Towards a credit-scoring model for social investment
Thesis (Part II Zoology): Information acquisition and decision-making in locusts
2016-19 Sharks and Rays Advisor, the Wildlife Conservation Society, SE Asia Archipelago
2015 Assistant Programme Officer, Species, UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge
2013–15 Assistant to the Africa Director, Africa Regional Office, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Tanzania
2013 Sustainable Tourism Consultant, Counterpart International, Ethiopia
2011-13 Assistant Program Officer, Ecosystem Services and Assessment, UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge
2010-11 Intern, Science Programme, UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge
Prof. EJ Milner-Gulland, Oxford NaturalMotion Graduate Scholarship
Joseph Hooker Prize for best course work, MSc in Conservation Science, Imperial College London
King’s College Academic Attainment Award, University of Cambridge
Worts Travelling Scholars Award, Donald Robertson Travelling Scholarship, University of Cambridge
Yulianto, I., Booth, H., Ningtias, P., Kartawijaya, T., Santos, J., Kleinertz, S., Campbell, S.J., Palm, H.W. and Hammer, C., 2018. Practical measures for sustainable shark fisheries: Lessons learned from an Indonesian targeted shark fishery. PloS one, 13(11), p.e0206437.
Hudson, L.N., Newbold, T., Contu, S., Hill, S.L., Lysenko, I., De Palma, A., Phillips, H.R., Senior, R.A., Bennett, D.J., Booth, H. and Choimes, A., 2014. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts. Ecology and evolution, 4(24), pp.4701-4735.
Newbold, T., Hudson, L.N., Phillips, H.R., Hill, S.L., Contu, S., Lysenko, I., Blandon, A., Butchart, S.H., Booth, H., Day, J. and De Palma, A., 2014. A global model of the response of tropical and sub-tropical forest biodiversity to anthropogenic pressures. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 281(1792), p.20141371.
Newbold, T., Scharlemann, J.P., Butchart, S.H., Şekercioğlu, Ç.H., Alkemade, R., Booth, H. and Purves, D.W., 2013. Ecological traits affect the response of tropical forest bird species to land-use intensity. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 280(1750), p.20122131.
Other selected non peer-reviewed publications
Booth, H., Muttaqin, E., Simeon, B., Ichsan, M., Siregar, U., Yulianto, I. and Kassem, K. 2018. Shark and ray conservation and management in Indonesia: Status and strategic priorities 2018-2023. Wildlife Conservation Society. Bogor, Indonesia.
Booth, H. 2016. Evaluating the impact of wildlife trade policy: the case of illegal manta ray catch and trade in Indonesia. Wildlife Conservation Society and Imperial College London.
Booth, H. 2018. Reducing manta ray mortality in the world’s largest targeted manta ray fishery. National Geographic Blog. [Accesses 30th October 2018]. http://goo.gl/L3DnCk
Booth, H. 2018. Shark Conservation Success Stories from South East Asia. Medium. [Accessed 30th October 2018]. goo.gl/mbjdbF
- Marine Protected Areas for Sharks. Our Oceans Conference, Bali, Indonesian, 2018
- Shark Fisheries Management. Our Oceans Conference, Bali, Indoneisa, 2018
- Tools & incentives to combat IUU trade of marine fauna: Combining law enforcement & livelihoods to deliver measurable conservation outcomes in the world’s largest targeted manta ray fishery. 5th International Marine Conservation Congress, Kuching, Malaysia, 2018
- Putting marine science in to practice for conservation and management of sharks and rays in South East Asia (symposium organiser/cochair). 5th International Marine Conservation Congress, Kuching, Malaysia, 2018
- Not by legality alone: addressing shark overexploitation in Indonesia. The Oxford Martin School on Illegal Wildlife Trade Annual Symposium. Oxford, UK, November 2017