Katherine Seto
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Assistant Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Environmental Studies Department
  • Affiliations Institute of Marine Sciences
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Interdisciplinary Sciences Building, 477
  • Mail Stop Environmental Studies
  • Courses ENVS 150 Coastal & Marine Policy; ENVS 250/CSP 243 Coastal Governance; ENVS 110 Institutions, the Environment, and Economic Systems
  • Advisees, Grad Students, Researchers Amanda Stoltz, Indiana Reid-Shaw, , ,

Summary of Expertise

Marine and coastal law and policy, political ecology, marine resource governance

Research Interests

My research lies at the intersection of political ecology, governance theory, and sustainability science. Using frameworks from these fields, my research investigates the equity, sustainability, and governance of marine and coastal systems, and the reciprocal relationship they have with human wellbeing and conflict. I am interested in understanding marine resource use at multiple scales, and my research focuses on ecology and governance of marine systems, seafood within local and global food systems, coastal access and equity, and issues of maritime security and globalization. My current research explores:

1) The social and ecological consequences of competition between small-scale and industrial fishing in West Africa,

2) Management of tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and the implications for illicit activity and disproportionate conservation burden for Small Island Developing States (SIDS),

3) The broad relationship between fisheries and social conflict

4) The role of seafood in local and global food systems

5) Coastal access and equity in California

Biography, Education and Training

BA International Studies, Emory University

MAS Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

PhD Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley

Honors, Awards and Grants


Hellman Fellowship

Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Associate Fellowship

Australia National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) Honorary Fellowship


Current Grants:

Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation Sprout Grant

Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation Building Belonging Grant

National Science Foundation (NSF) Coupled Human and Natural Systems Grant, “Interactive Dynamics of Reef Fisheries and Human Health”

Selected Publications

Seto, K., G. Galland, A.McDonald, A. Abolhassani, K. Azmi, H. Sinan, T. Timmiss, Q. Hanich. 2020. Resource allocation in transboundary tuna fisheries: a global analysis. Ambio.


Seto, K., N. Miller, M. Young, Q. Hanich. 2020. Toward transparent governance of trans-boundary fisheries: The case of Pacific tuna transshipment. Marine Policy.


Park, J., J. Lee, K. Seto, T. Hochberg, B. Wong, N. Miller, K. Takasaki, H. Kubota, Y. Oozeki, S. Doshi, M. Midzik, Q. Hanich, B. Sullivan, P. Woods, D. Kroodsma. 2020. Illuminating Dark Fishing Fleets in North Korea. Science Advances. 6(30): 1-7.


Finkbeiner, E., N. Bennett, C. Brooks, T. Frawley, J. Mason, C. Ng, R. Ourens, K. Seto, S. Swanson, J. Urteaga, D. Briscoe, L.B. Crowder. Reconstructing overfishing: moving beyond Malthus for effective and equitable solutions. Fish and Fisheries 00(2017):1-12. doi: 10.1111/faf.12245


Golden, C., K. Seto, M. Dey, O.L. Chen, J. Gephart, S. Myers, M. Smith, B. Vaitla, E. Allison. 2017. Does Aquaculture Support the Needs of Nutritionally Vulnerable Nations? Frontiers in Marine Science 4:159. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00159.


Seto, K., D. Belhabib, J. Mamie, D. Copeland, J.M. Vakily, H. Seilert, A. Baio, S. Harper, D. Zeller, K. Zylich, D. Pauly. War, fish, and foreign fleets: The marine fisheries catches of Sierra Leone 1950-2015. Marine Policy 83(2017): 153-163.


Seto, K. and KJ Fiorella. 2017. From Sea to Plate: The Role of Fish in a Sustainable DietFrontiers in Marine Science 4:74. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00074


Gaynor, K., K. Fiorella, J. Gregory, D. Kurz, K. Seto, L. Withey,J. Brashares. (2016) War and wildlife: linking armed conflict to conservation. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment. 14(10): 533-542.


Seto, K. “West Africa & the New European Common Fisheries Policy: Impacts & Implications,” in Twenty Years of Development Under the UNCLOS Regime. eds. C. Esposito, J. Kraska, H. Scheiber and M.Kwon. Boston: Nijhoff Brill Publishers, in press 2015.


Brashares, J., B. Abrams, K. Fiorella, C. Hojnowski, R. Marsh, D. McCauley, T. Nunez, K. Seto, L. Withey. Wildlife Decline and Social Conflict. Science Vol. 345 No. 6195 (25 July 2014) pp. 376-378.