Rod Fujita

Affiliated Researcher

Specialties: Climate Change, Coastal and Nearshore Environment, Coral Reefs, Cumulative Impacts, Ecosystem Health, Fisheries, Tropical Ecosystems

Rod Fujita is a visiting fellow with the Center for Ocean Solutions. He works closesly with Center staff on the Ocean Tipping Points project. Fujita received his Ph.D. in marine ecology from the Boston University Marine Program at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  He has conducted research on salt marsh ecology, nutrient dynamics and physiological ecology and went on to study coral reefs while serving as one of the first scientists to operate an isolated research platform several miles offshore of Key Largo, Florida.

Since joining the staff of the Environmental Defense Fund in 1988, Fujita has worked on acid rain, nitrogen pollution, ozone depletion and global climate change. Turning his attention back to the ocean in 1990, Fujita participated in successful campaigns to establish the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (which includes several fully protected marine reserves), the Channel Islands marine reserve network and California’s landmark Marine Life Protection Act.  He also helped develop California’s Marine Life Management Act which calls for ecosystem based fisheries management, and the California Ocean Protection Act which established the Ocean Protection Council, a cabinet-level body with an ecosystem-based management mandate and authority to use the Ocean Protection Trust Fund to support ocean mapping, fisheries projects, marine debris programs and many other valuable activities.  Fujita successfully advocated more stringent catch limits to protect vulnerable rockfish species and became one of the first conservationists to advocate catch shares as a way to end overfishing, reduce waste and increase fishery revenues for the west coast groundfish fishery, which is scheduled to transition to catch shares in 2011. Fujita now advises EDF staff, stakeholder groups and government officials on catch share design and implementation.  He also co-founded the California Fisheries Fund, a sustainable source of capital for fishermen and ports with an interest in improving the sustainability of fishing.  Fujita partnered with The Nature Conservancy and other groups to engineer a private buyout of trawl vessels and permits along California’s Central Coast, resulting in a transition of trawling to more sustainable hook and line fishing and the establishment of 5,900 square miles of no-trawl zones.

Fujita founded Ocean Innovations, the research and development arm of Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program, where he supervises the research of post-degree students in law, economics, science, financial engineering, business and other disciplines to find breakthrough solutions and identify emerging issues.

Fujita has been appointed to many state and federal commissions and review and advisory panels on environmental issues.   He has testified before Congress several times on ocean policy issues and served on the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee.  In 2000, Dr. Fujita was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation to explore emerging issues in marine conservation and to write his book, Heal the Ocean.

Contact Information:
Phone: (415) 293-6050

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