DURHAM, N.C. – Pablo Arenas, director general of the Mexican National Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA), will address 2017 graduates of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment at the school’s Recognition Ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 13.

Arenas will speak to Master of Environmental Management (MEM), Master of Forestry and doctoral degree candidates and their families in a private ceremony at the Chemistry Lot on Duke’s West Campus.

Pablo Arenas, director general, Mexican National Fisheries Institute

Among the students he will be addressing is his son, Esteban Arenas, who will receive an MEM in global environmental change.

As INAPESCA’s director general, Arenas oversees all fisheries and aquaculture research at the federal level in Mexico, and is responsible for technical input for fisheries and aquaculture management nationwide. Among other projects, he is deeply involved in the conservation of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise in the Gulf of California; economic analyses of quota programs to promote sustainable harvests of grouper, octopus and sea cucumber in Yucatan; and oversight of the recent decision to open Campeche Sound to fisheries and aquaculture.

“When it comes to the environment, every issue has several possible approaches; tradeoffs are always present,” he says. “The objective of sustainability, however, must be clear at all times.”  

In addition to his current work at INAPESCA, Arenas has led research on marine fisheries for the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission; NOAA; the Mexico-United States Joint Program on the Assessment of Pacific Small Pelagic Species; and The Nature Conservancy’s Marine Initiative for the Gulf of California and the North Pacific.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 1976, and a master’s degree in natural resources management and population ecology from UNAM in 1978. He earned a doctoral degree in fisheries management from the University of Washington in 1988.

Joining Arenas on the podium at this year’s Recognition Ceremony will be alumni speaker Charles Adair, program manager for the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative, the first program at an academic institution to focus solely on designing, implementing and scaling carbon offset projects. Adair earned an MEM in environmental economics and policy in 2010.

For more information about the annual Recognition Ceremony as it becomes available, go here.