Dr. Stephen Sutton will work throughout the range of the wild Atlantic salmon to develop programs that will encourage people to become more involved in conservation activities that will benefit the species.
The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) has hired Dr. Stephen Sutton of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, as Coordinator of Community Outreach and Engagement. In this role, Dr. Sutton will be based at ASF’s headquarters in New Brunswick and will work throughout the range of the wild Atlantic salmon to develop programs that will encourage people to become more involved in conservation activities that will benefit the species.
Dr. Sutton worked at James Cook University in Australia for 12 years as an Associate Professor in Environmental Studies and Fisheries. He received degrees in the study of biology from Memorial University in St. John’s, before receiving his doctorate in wildlife and fisheries from Texas A&M University. His research has included Atlantic salmon biology and management and the human dimensions of recreational fisheries and environmental conservation. He has an excellent background in utilizing social science to motivate people to become actively involved to protect wildlife and keep healthy the environment on which wildlife depend.
ASF President Bill Taylor said, “Steve’s expertise will be invaluable in attracting and developing conservation leadership among young salmon anglers and in helping to develop campaigns that will better engage anglers and other key stakeholders in conservation and protection activities.”
Dr. Sutton is a salmon fishing enthusiast and each year looks forward to his annual trip to fish in Newfoundland. “I have fished the Main River for the past 22 years, even when I was living in Texas and Australia,” he said. “My 2015 trip to the Main River stands out because of the large number of salmon and excellent fishing conditions.”
“One of the greatest threats to salmon,” continued Dr. Sutton “would be a public that loses interest in this natural resource. I am excited about working with ASF to ensure that public engagement results in more people contributing, however they can, to conservation, while sending a clear message to government that it is vitally important to save the species. The more people doing their part in making sure salmon are part of our future, the better.”
A number of Dr. Sutton’s projects, when working at James Cook University, related to working with his students to generate understanding of what it takes to motivate people to help reduce the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef. The projects entailed using persuasive communication to engage coastal communities in sea turtle conservation, understanding how to increase compliance with recreational angling regulations and how to effectively communicate scientific information to recreational anglers.
Dr. Sutton concluded, “My work in Australia was interesting and rewarding, but it took me a long way from my passion and the reason that I studied science in the first place - the well-being of wild Atlantic salmon. I am very pleased that ASF has provided me with this opportunity to work on protecting this species that is such a big part of my life.”