Ashoka University professor bags prestigious 50,000 Euro Nature Conservation Award

She's the first Indian woman to win the Award for studying sustainable fishing & Olive Ridley turtles.

An Ashoka University professor has bagged the prestigious Future for Nature Award for her work on sustainable fishing of sharks and Olive Ridley sea turtles.

Divya Karnad, who successfully reduces the unwanted bycatch of endangered sharks along the Coromandel coast of India through her project — InSeason Fish, will receive this prestigious nature conservation prize and 50,000 Euros during the Future For Nature Awards Event on 3 May in the Netherlands. She is the first Indian woman to receive the award.

Bycatch (in the fishing industry) is a fish or other marine species that is caught unintentionally while catching certain target species and target sizes of fish and crabs.

Divya Karnad. Image: Future for Nature

Divya Karnad. Image: Future for Nature

"Divya is clearly an outstanding leader and has already initiated an impressive number of programmes and organisations focused on marine species conservation in India. She is now giving her attention to multiple globally threatened shark species, working with an impressively wide array of stakeholders.

"She is clearly a creative, serious, focused person with an excellent understanding of social, political, economic and biological issues, and the need to integrate these," said Simon Stuart, International Selection Committee.

From 125 global applications, an international jury of experts has chosen Divya Karnad (India), Fernanda Abra (Brazil) and Olivier Nsengimana (Rwanda).

Karnad received her PhD in Geography from Rutgers University, USA, and completed a Masters in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from the Post Graduate Programme run by the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Centre for Wildlife Studies and Wildlife Conservation Society, India.

During her Masters she identified light sources that had the least amount of impact to use on coastal beaches to successfully protect over 2 lakh Olive Ridley sea turtles.

Based on the results of her PhD work Karnad co-founded InSeason Fish, a sustainable seafood initiative. The focus of this work is to connect seafood consumers to fishermen using sustainable practices in order to promote grassroots level change across the fisheries.

Future For Nature supports young, talented and ambitious conservationists committed to protecting species of wild animals and plants.

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