The Management Board of the 2008 Premi Ramon Margalef in Ecology he thus confirmed the jury's unanimous decision to award the prize to the French biologist Daniel Pauly. Pauly received the award on 6 October, in a ceremony presided over by the President of the Generalitat, José Montilla, in the Forum Auditorium, during the World Conservation Congress, which has brought together in Barcelona over 8,000 leading figures in environmental and sustainable development issues.
Created by the Generalitat of Catalonia in 2004, the Premi Ramon Margalef aims to recognise a scientific career or discovery in the field of ecology, which has contributed to significant progress in the knowledge or thought of this science, or to the development of theoretical tools for the proper management of natural resources, the land or sea. Worth 100,000 euros, it is the first international prize exclusively dedicated to ecology. The scientists who have had received this award up to now are Paul Dayton, John Lawton and Harold Mooney.
Daniel Pauly (Paris, France, 1946) has been selected from amongst 17 applications submitted for the Prize. These applications have been presented by universities, research centres, higher education schools and scientific academies of renowned prestige.
"One of the 50 most influential scientists", according to the journal Scientific American; "most prolific and cited in the world in his research field, and key, often controversial, in modern fishing practices", according to Science; an "iconoclastic" scientist, according to the New York Times.
Daniel Pauly has a doctorate degree in fisheries biology and biological oceanography from the University of Kiel (Germany). He is currently the director of the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada). He arrived to the University in 1994 after spending some years at the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resource Management (ICLARM) in Manila.
Professor Daniel Pauly is a world authority in the study of the decline of fish stocks and the ecosystems' response to human pressure. He has developed and used new techniques which have made it possible to analyse the global impact of fishing on marine ecosystems. He has assessed this impact by means of a widely-accepted "Marine Trophic Index" and has converted the Ecopath model into one of most frequently-used ecosystem modelling tools. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, of the United States) has considered this model to be one of the most outstanding achievements of the last 200 years.
This exceptional career has always been dedicated to the fight to preserve marine ecosystems. This is a role that Pauly carries out primarily through the Board of Directors of the Oceana organisation. This activism has led to the condemning of various situations of permissiveness by different governments regarding fishing techniques (such as trawling), which allow the capture of fish of increasingly lower trophic levels. This permissiveness has occurred to such an extent that on some occasions, warnings have been issued declaring that if these situations are not rectified, "the only thing we will be able to catch from the sea is jellyfish and plankton soup" in the near future. Pauly has also repeatedly condemned the EU's fishing policy, which he considers "a farce", and has demanded marine reserves given the extreme situation which he indicates the marine ecosystems are experiencing. It is for this environmental commitment that he has received various awards, including the International Cosmos Prize, in Japan (2005), the Volvo Environment Prize (2006) and the ECI Prize and Ted Danson Ocean Hero Award (2007), amongst others.
Pauly has also written numerous books and over 500 scientific articles. Of particular note are: "On the Sex of Fishes and the Gender of Scientist: a Collection of Essays in Fisheries Science" (1994); "Méthodes pour l'évaluation des ressources halieutiques" (1997); "In a Perfect Ocean: fisheries and ecosystem in the North Atlantic" (2003); and "Darwin's Fishes: an encyclopedia of ichthyology, ecology and evolution" (2004).