Lydia Koehler is an experienced and passionate marine scientist and ocean advocate.
- Conservation professional with marine management and policy focus
- A passion for shark conservation and ecology
- Associate Lecturer and PhD candidate at Plymouth
- Member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law
In conversation with Lydia Koehler
A connection to the sea
I was, and still am, fascinated by oceans – the life within them and how everything connects and how how we try to protect it.
My favourite story, one I'm not shy to tell at every opportunity, is that I showed Michael Phelps his first whale shark.
Watching reef life interact and seeing the life reefs support has always been a very special experience.
What have been some memorable diving experiences?
I love watching all small living creature on a reef interact, such as cleaning stations or clown fish protecting their anemone, which they do quite aggressively.
A passion for policy
What are some of the differences moving from working with NGOs to governments?
Working with and for NGOs brings great joy, as this community is so driven to make a difference and the people are extremely passionate.
How have you developed your passion for law?
What does shark governance cover?
Why is it needed?
'Sharks' – the term I use to refer to all elasmobranchs – are one of the most threatened groups of species in our oceans and many are disappearing due to overfishing.
The most relevant and highest impact one is unsustainable fishing, including overfishing and illegal fishing.
What policies are being used and are in development to help shark conservation?
What are elasmobranchs?
Elasmobranchii is a subclass of cartilaginous fish. This includes sharks, rays, skates and sawfish. Members are characterised by having five to seven pairs of gill clefts opening individually to the exterior, rigid dorsal fins and small placoid scales on the skin.
What has been the focus of your joint academic papers to date?
- The application of precautionary measures for shark conservation and management based on the assessment of measures in place in three example countries, namely Greece, Cyprus, and Malta.
- How and what policies and laws are in place to protect and manage sharks and what role NGOs play in the implementation of measures based on the laws and policies.
Is there anything the public can do to help with shark conservation?
Once you know more about sharks and how to protect them, spread the word and become an ambassador for sharks and the ocean in general.
What is the next step for you with your PhD?
What is the main goal after you have completed your PhD?
Many thanks Lydia for your time. We wish you all the best with your PhD and future research.
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