Carrie Holt

Fishing for better salmon manageme

June 1, 2007

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By Barry Shell

Carrie Holt has a better idea for managing the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery. This year’s Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation medal winner in applied sciences found a way to help regulators learn from the past.

"Fisheries managers’ simulation models can now contain a factor that takes into account deviations between targets and what actually happened in past fisheries," says Holt (right).

Her PhD thesis in the School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) began as a study of how the variation in maturity of returning salmon affects the fishery. But she eventually discovered that applying fishery regulations correctly was much more important.

Her new model factors in nearly 30 years of systematic bias between fisheries regulation goals and their actual outcomes.

Originally from Toronto, Holt obtained a B.Sc. in biology from Queens University and an M.Sc. from York University before coming to SFU.

"I was attracted to the applied nature of SFU’s resource and environmental management program and the way it deals with current issues like fish management," she says.

In addition to publishing six papers in major international journals during her five years at SFU, Holt has become one of the top 20 women runners in B.C. It’s an appropriate hobby for someone who sits in front of a computer all day analyzing data.

Her supervisor, REM professor Randall Peterman says "she is unusually adept at picking up quantitative methods such as advanced statistical techniques and computer simulation modeling."

Holt is currently conducting post-doctoral research on climate and fisheries at the University of Washington in Seattle. In November, she returns to B.C. to take up a position as a research scientist with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Nanaimo.

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