Meet the Experts: Holly Binns, Manager, End Overfishing in the Southeast

Holly Binns joined the Pew Environment Group in 2008 as manager of efforts to protect ocean life and end overfishing in the Gulf of Mexico, the South Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

What were some influences that caused you to develop a passion for protecting the environment?

I grew up on Florida's east coast and spent countless days at the beach or sailing with my dad on his little Sunfish sailboat. There's just something about growing up in Florida that makes you feel very connected to and appreciative of the ocean environment.

What are some of your greatest challenges as manager of Pew's campaigns to end overfishing in the Southeast?

Protecting our oceans means an end to overfishing—taking fish faster than they can reproduce. Ultimately, overfishing is a losing proposition for the fish and for fishermen. In the South Atlantic, we have a new plan to help the severely dwindling red snapper.

A great challenge for our red snapper work will be ensuring that the  protections are strong enough to help the overfished species recover. For other species, our challenge will be to ensure fishery managers set scientifically sound limits on numbers of fish caught annually. We hope that a more cautious system for setting fishing limits will prevent future overfishing and keep fish species healthy. We will encourage fishery managers to treat the ocean ecosystem holistically when making rules to protect our marine life. 

What do you like about the work you do now?

I enjoy working with a variety of people—fishermen, scientists, decision-makers and others—to find science-based solutions to overfishing.

Tell us why ending overfishing is good for more than just the environment.

Healthy fish populations power an important part of our economy. Fishing is a valuable industry and a recreational pastime that draws millions of residents and tourists to our waters each year. Fishing and fishing-related businesses—from bait shops and boat stores to hotels and restaurants—depend on healthy, abundant species.