Mackenzie Mazur: Marine biology Ph.D. student presents fisheries reviews in Copenhagen

Mackenzie Mazur, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, grew up with close ties to the coastal and marine environment. 

“I have always been fascinated by the ocean and how people interact with it,” says the marine biology Ph.D. student. “This fascination has driven me to pursue an education in marine sciences, and since then, I have learned that fisheries science is essential for ocean sustainability.”

This summer, Mazur worked in the lab of Yong Chen, a professor of fisheries sciences at UMaine and a faculty fellow at the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, reviewing fisheries stock assessments from the Celtic Seas region for the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES). 

Along with 19 other students and two post-doctoral researchers from the United States and China, Mazur reviewed two dozen assessments, which use computer models to understand the status of a fishery and inform management plans.  

And in June, she traveled to Copenhagen and presented the results of the comprehensive review, which focused on data quality and model selection.

“Presenting the results in Copenhagen was a rewarding experience,” she says. “I presented the reviews to the group that was drafting the advice documents for managers based on the stock assessment reports. They valued the student reviews, and the stock assessment scientists will consider all our suggestions when they start the stock assessments again next year.”

The Chen Lab also focuses on quantitative fisheries ecology and population dynamics, according to Mazur, who earned a bachelor’s degree in marine sciences at UMaine in 2015. 

“Much of our research investigates the interactions between commercial fishing, ecological variables, and dynamics of fisheries populations and communities. Research from the Chen Lab also informs fisheries management in the United States,” she says.  

Mazur loves to be on, in or near the ocean for a variety of activities — from kayaking and scuba diving to walking along the coast. 

“I have also recently discovered that riding scooters through Copenhagen is a lot of fun,” she adds. 

“After attending UMaine for eight years, I can say that it was one of the best choices I have ever made. At UMaine I do not feel like just a number, and the opportunities provided by the school extend way beyond just a textbook education,” says Mazur. “I have gained real experience in the field and now even experience working with international organizations! Every time the Chen Lab reviews stock assessments from ICES, I know that our work will have implications for fisheries management in Europe. It’s a great feeling to know that I am making a difference.”

Contact: Cleo Barker, 207.581.3729