Dr Renae Tobin is a social scientist, but with a background in ecology also undertakes multi-disciplinary research, providing essential links between social and ecological science in fisheries. Dr Tobin’s research is generally stakeholder (industry and management) driven, and hence very diverse within the social sciences. Recent research includes exploring regional co-management options for inshore fisheries, social network analysis for co-management and community stewardship, developing socio-economic indicators, exploring impacts of Marine Park zoning and fisheries management change on fishers, highlighting the importance of effective engagement of stakeholders in management decisions, exploring perceptions of climate change and its impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, and documenting the adaptive capacity of fishers to environmental events (e.g. intense cyclones).
Much of Dr Tobin’s research has direct application to fisheries and marine park management. For instance a recent collaborative, multi-disciplinary project documented the effectiveness of reef fish spawning closures; this project contributed to changes to the timing of the closures, reducing the costs of the closures to industry without reducing the benefit of spawning closures on commercially important reef fish species. Her diverse skills and interests are reflected by her appointment as the scientific representative on the Qld Fisheries Research Advisory Board for the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
Renae is a graduate of James Cook University (JCU), completing marine ecology for her undergraduate degree. After working for a number of years as a research assistant, she moved into fisheries management and research via a Graduate Certificate at the Australian Maritime College in 2000. She then returned to JCU and began a PhD with the CRC Reef and JCU with a focus on exploring the role of recreational only fishing areas regarding ongoing conflict between recreational and commercial fishers. The importance of social science became obvious during the course of the project, and she focussed on exploring perceptions of fishers regarding competition and conflict over shared fish stocks.