Wyatt Smith, Humboldt State University

Wyatt is currently enrolled in the Environment and Community graduate program at Humboldt State and expects to graduate in May 2018. Wyatt obtained his undergraduate degree at Prescott College in Arizona. The majority of his undergraduate time was spent at a biological field station in Mexico where he majored in marine conservation biology.

Currently Wyatt is working with a team to gather socioeconomic data from commercial and recreational fishing industries and the mariculture industry to develop recommendations for Shelter Cove and the Port of Eureka that will be included in the Eureka Fishing Community Sustainability Plan.

Before moving to Humboldt, Wyatt lived in coastal areas all over the United States and held jobs associated with the fishing and mariculture industries. At Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, Wyatt managed and operated an oyster farm for four and a half years.

Wyatt was living in Washington State managing a commercial oyster farming operation when he decided to go back to school. He entered the graduate program at Humboldt State and learned about a waterfront development project being led by Dr. Laurie Richmond, an associate professor in the Environmental Science and Management program at Humboldt State. Through work and life experiences, Wyatt developed a diverse outlook on marine-related industries. He felt that sound data could be used to help develop policies to support the industry and provide a positive impact in these communities. Dr. Richmond’s philosophy of developing environmental management plans that are both ecologically sustainable and socially just were very much aligned with Wyatt’s interests. Dr. Richmond soon found that Wyatt’s background and fisheries experience were just what she was seeking and asked him to join her research team. The NOAA- and ARI-funded research project has turned out to be a wonderful collaborative opportunity. This research experience and data they collected strengthened his realization that oyster aquaculture can play an integral role in sustaining and improving the economy of the larger mariculture community and solving conservation challenges.

Wyatt recently completed the Industry interviews and will soon finish the analyses and assessment and hopes to publish the results shortly thereafter. He said the socioeconomic data will be valuable in establishing baseline levels in which to evaluate the oyster community’s economic contribution to the larger fishing and mariculture industries in the Humboldt Bay area. Upon graduating, Wyatt hopes to remain in the area and continue to work with Dr. Richmond on the development of the fishing community sustainability plan for the Port of Eureka and Shelter Cove.