Amanda Vincent receives Dawkins Prize for Conservation & Animal Welfare

(Cross-posted from UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries)

Dr. Amanda Vincent, a professor at the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, has been named as the 5th recipient of the Dawkins Prize for Conservation and Animal Welfare, by Balliol College at the University of Oxford.

This Prize honours exceptional achievement in research focused on animals whose conservation and welfare are affected by human activity. It was endowed by Mr. John Dawkins, father of Professor Richard Dawkins FRS, (Oxford University’s Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science) on behalf of the Dawkins family.

It was her love of the little, quirky, seahorse which drew Dr. Vincent in, and she has dedicated her career to ocean conservation. She was the first biologist to study seahorses underwater, to discover their species threatening, global trade, and it was her concern for these tiny fish which led her to mount a global conservation campaign to secure their future. In 1996, Dr. Vincent co-founded, with the Zoological Society of London, and still directs, Project Seahorse, an international team committed to conservation and sustainable use of the world’s coastal marine ecosystems. Now in its 27th year, Project Seahorse leads in marine conservation, making discoveries & collaborating globally to take effective action for seahorses and their seas.

Dr. Vincent has led on marine conservation initiatives all over the world, from community-based local projects to global policy ventures. Project Seahorse is notable for linking research and management in tight feedback, actively applying new knowledge promptly. Her team has catalysed creation of 35 new marine reserves, where no fishing is allowed, and promoted new fisheries and trade regulations. In 2002, she was instrumental in persuading the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to embark on regulating exports in marine fishes, with milestone legislation to limit global seahorse exports to sustainable levels and legally sourcing. This work has led the way for the addition of other marine fishes to CITES, creating policies to control fish exports all over the world.

Dr. Vincent became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2020, also becoming the first marine conservationist to win the world’s top award in animal conservation, the Indianapolis Prize, for her trailblazing work to protect seahorses and other marine life, in that year. In 2018 she won the Le Cren Award from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI). She was named a Conservation Fellow by the Zoological Society of London in 2003, a Pew Fellow in 2000, and was named as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1995. She is Chair of the IUCN SSC Marine Conservation Committee and Chair of the award-winning SSC Seahorse, Pipefish and Seadragon Specialist Group.

As part of winning this prize, Dr. Vincent will give a public lecture in Oxford, UK, on 24 April 2024.