Brett Favaro

My degrees

BSc Biology, Simon Fraser University

What I am now

PhD candidate


My research

My research is centered around problem-solving in marine conservation.  In my case, the problem is bycatch of rockfish in prawn traps.  Rockfish are a group of species that have declined steeply in abundance due to overfishing.  Bycatch, or accidental unintentional catch of rockfish in spot prawn traps is a source of mortality that I aim to reduce or eliminate through my research.

My research program is occurring in three main phases.  First, I gathered pre-existing data and collected my own data about the rate at which bycatch occurs in prawn traps (1).  Second, I designed and deployed an underwater camera apparatus to observe the traps for long periods of time underwater to learn more about the behavioural interactions that occur within the traps (2).  Third, I field-tested a series of novel bycatch reduction devices and found that while they were effective at eliminating rockfish bycatch, more work is needed on prawn retention before they will be suitable for use in the fishery (3).

In addition to my work on bycatch reduction, I am interested in marine policy, and in learning about the way politics, policy, and science interact in order to facilitate management of natural resources (e.g. 4-6).


[1] Favaro, B., Rutherford, D. T., Duff, S. D., and Côté, I. M. Bycatch of rockfish and other species in British Columbia spot prawn traps: Preliminary assessment using research traps. Fisheries Research, 102(1-2), 199 – 206. Link

[2] Favaro, B., Lichota, C., Côté, I. M., and Duff, S. D. TrapCam: An inexpensive camera system for studying deep-water animals. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 3(1), 39-46. Link to paper. Online content

[3] Favaro, B., Duff, S. D., and Côté, I. M. A trap with a twist: Evaluating a bycatch reduction device to prevent rockfish capture in crustacean traps. ICES Journal of Marine Science, Accepted paper.

[4] Favaro, B. Policy-making: Scientists cannot compete as lobbyists. Nature, 482 (162), doi:10.1038/482162b. Link

[5] Favaro, B, Reynolds, J. D., and Côté, I. M. Canada’s weakening aquatic protection. Science, 337 (6091), doi:10.1126/science.1225523. Link

[6] Reynolds, J.D., Côté, I. M., and Favaro, B. Canada: a bleak day for the environment. Nature, 487 (171), doi:10.1038/487171b. Link