Scott Baker, an Oregon State University conservation geneticist and cetacean specialist whose work was featured in the 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary, “The Cove,” has been named one of four 2011 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation.
Baker, a conservation geneticist who works with whales, dolphins and porpoises, will receive a $150,000 three-year stipend to study dolphins in the south Pacific.
A professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU, Baker’s laboratory is located at the university’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport on the central Oregon coast. In his genetic analysis laboratory, he conducts forensic work on the tissues of whales and other cetaceans.
Baker helped document the under-reporting by Japan of fin whale populations and the threat to Minke whales of commercial “bycatch” whaling — intentional “accidental” entanglement with fishing nets. Japan and South Korea are the only countries that allow the commercial sale of products killed as “incidental bycatch.”
“The Cove” documented the driving of dolphins into secluded Taiji, Japan for slaughter. The film also documented the illegal sale of whale meat as sushi in restaurants in Seoul, South Korea and Los Angeles.
Baker also is an adjunct professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He chairs the executive committee of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium and frequently testifies at meetings of the International Whaling Commission. He also edits the Journal of Heredity, a publication of the American Genetic Association.
The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation has awarded 120 fellowships to individuals from 31 countries since it began. The program is managed by the Pew Environmental Group in Washington, D.C.