Griffith professor stands tall with science award

4 September 2015

Research seeking solutions to the potential conflict between marine ecosystems and commercial and recreational fishing has earned Griffith University’s Dr Chris Brown a 2015 Young Tall Poppy Science Award.

Griffith University Environmental Sciences
Griffith Associate Prof Dr Chris Brown (Photo credit: Griffith University)

An initiative of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science, the prestigious awards were presented Aug. 20 to 11 young researchers by Queensland’s Minister for Science and Innovation, The Honourable Ms Leeanne Enoch MP, as part of the annual Science in Parliament program in Brisbane.
A member of Griffith’s world-leading Australian Rivers Institute, Dr Brown’s research is focused on striking a sustainable balance between the importance of fish for human consumption as well as to the health of marine ecosystems.
“Fishing is regulated in two ways: marine parks, which protect ecosystems; and catch limits, which protect fisheries,” says Dr Brown.
“For instance, on the Great Barrier Reef, which supports about 63,000 jobs, there are numerous areas where fishing is banned and there are bag limits for recreational fishers.
“Parks are great because they ensure a few places are near pristine and have many fish; however, the problem is that parks don’t protect fish outside their boundaries, the Griffith University associate professor.
“In fact, extensive parks can actually concentrate fishing in outside areas.”

Dr Brown’s research shows that bag limits are just as important for healthy ecosystems because they apply everywhere and thus help protect the health of ecosystems outside park boundaries.
“The right combination of bag limits and parks can ensure we have healthy ecosystems and fish to catch,” says Dr Brown.
“In other words, ecosystems can have their fish, and we can eat them, too.”

About the Griffith University Australian Rivers Institute

The Griffith University Australian Rivers Institute is Australia’s largest university aquatic ecosystem research groups with globally recognised expertise in river, catchment and coastal ecosystems and the interaction with these systems in society. The institute brings together 130 staff and post-graduate students at the Nathan and Gold Coast campuses.
Research focuses on a “source to sea” philosophy delivering through six themes:

  • Catchment and river ecosystem processes
  • Rehabilitation science and environmental flows
  • Coastal and estuarine ecosystem processes
  • Aquatic biodiversity and conservation
  • Integration, modelling and catchment management
  • Aquatic ecosystem monitoring and assessment


Find out more about studying marine ecosystems and other environmental sciences at Griffith University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at or call toll free at 1-866-698-7355.