The Life and Times of Daniel Pauly
Pauly has long been revered for his groundbreaking research on the rapid decline of global fisheries. As an author of numerous scientific papers and books on this topic, as well as several software applications (ELEFAN and Ecopath) as well as an expansive online encyclopedia called FishBase, he remains widely respected around the globe.
Born in France but spending his early years as a live-in servant for a Swiss family in Switzerland, he eventually relocated to Germany where he put himself through school on his own.
Early Life and Education
Pauly was born and raised as the biracial son of a French mother and an American GI father, before attending college in Germany before earning both masters and doctoral degrees in fisheries biology from Kiel University.
Pauly’s early experiences in Southeast Asia convinced him that fisheries science had fallen under the control of industry, with bottom trawling being promoted as an industrial method to destroy marine ecosystems and endanger the livelihoods of small-scale artisanal fishermen. Pauly organized hundreds of scientists in his most influential research project to compile global data sets highlighting this trend; warning that, should current trends continue, oceans could soon become full of junkyard-like jellyfish and planktonic blooms.
Pauly has not had an easy life, despite his academic accomplishments. After being abducted by a family as a child and forced into service as a live-in servant, he managed to secure himself his education by working evening shifts at local restaurants while paying tuition himself; and since graduating has lived and worked abroad extensively; including some dangerous environments.
Daniel Pauly is an esteemed marine biologist and fisheries scientist, currently serving as director of UBC’s Sea Around Us research initiative and Killam Professor of Fisheries Biology.
Pauly has dedicated his career as a marine biologist to documenting the decline of global fish populations. He is widely acclaimed for shedding light on unsustainable and underreported international fishing practices that have contributed to an explosion of collapsing fish stocks.
In 2019, he warned of warming waters causing fish to gasp for oxygen, shrink in size, and struggle to survive in their environments. Furthermore, he claimed that governments often underreport their catches.
This first authorized biography by French oceanographer David Gremillet and translated by Georgia Lyon Froman is an engaging narrative about Pauly’s remarkable life, from his heartbreaking childhood in Germany to his journey across Europe and his groundbreaking scientific achievements in America.
Achievement and Honors
Pauly is revered among fish biologists as one of the greatest innovators of his field. He helped establish two highly influential databases – ELEFAN (Electronic Length Frequency Analysis) and FishBase – that collect information on thousands of species worldwide and are regularly consulted by researchers worldwide.
He pioneered the use of length frequency data to estimate growth rates and developed equations to measure fishing stress on populations. Furthermore, he established FishBase: an enormous online database offering identification, morphology and habitat range information on fishes.
Pauly has been described by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles as one of the “most influential scientists” in fisheries biology, having won multiple international awards and prizes for his work, as well as honorary doctorates from universities both in Europe and North America.
Daniel Pauly is one of the world’s foremost oceanographers and has become widely revered for his global outlook and dedication to marine conservation. His life story is both heartbreaking and inspiring: born after World War II to a white French woman and Black American GI fathered by both, Pauly was abandoned by both. Meanwhile his sickly mother succumbed to manipulation from Swiss couple that eventually took Pauly under their care and adopted him into their care.
The Ocean’s Whistleblower by David Gremillet provides an engaging biography of Pauly’s career. Interviews were conducted in Germany, France and Switzerland with family and colleagues of Pauly in order to write this book, offering readers an intimate look into his life while detailing all his contributions to science; including extensive work in tropical regions; creation of free databases like FishBase; as well as ideas such as shifting baselines.
Pauly’s research, known for its groundbreaking work on Fishing Down Marine Food Webs, produced software (ELEFAN and Ecopath) and scientific databases such as FishBase. Furthermore, his concepts now provide structure to numerous research topics within marine biology.
Daniel Pauly has amassed an estimated net worth of approximately $1.5 Million through his work as a Biologist. Born on 2-May-1946 in Paris, France – Daniel keeps his personal life confidential.
He is not yet married, opting not to share details of his romantic relationships. He has one daughter. Although not active on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, he keeps very busy working toward his career goals with the help and support of family and friends – spending any free time spent playing with daughter in free time!