Don Schug has had a working relationship with Northern Economics since 2000 and joined the firm in July 2001. His work with Northern Economics has focused on socioeconomic issues involving fisheries, oil and gas development, and a wide array of other subjects. Don has particular expertise preparing environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act, including evaluation of economic, social and community, and environmental justice impacts.
Don has more than twenty years of experience performing analyses of the economic and social aspects of fisheries and fisheries management at the community, national, and international levels. For example, his doctoral research in Papua New Guinea entailed an ethnographic study of artisanal fisheries in the Torres Strait, while his duties as an economic planner in American Samoa included monitoring changes in the highly industrialized U.S. tuna harvesting and processing sectors. Don’s fisheries-related research and applied work has taken him to many places in the United States and abroad. He has worked extensively in the Pacific islands, including Polynesia (Hawaii and American Samoa), Micronesia (Kiribati) and Melanesia (Papua New Guinea). This island hopping reflects his love for travel as much as his career interests.
Don believes that solutions to many of our natural resource management problems can only be achieved through the integration of information from a range of scientific disciplines, including economics, biology, sociology, and anthropology. As a result, he especially enjoys working with a team of people that can provide a wide range of perspectives and skills.
Don’s answers to life’s more important questions:
Curious about: Why some people get bored talking about fish
Idea of fun: Exploring exotic and far-flung places with Sonja.
Best fish story: During a favorite fish encounter I was more potential prey than predator. It occurred while snorkeling with a friend on the outer reef of Tarawa.
We had reached a drop-off and I dove down for a leisurely inspection of some coral heads. As I was coming up for air I noticed my buddy was on the surface with his legs closely tucked under him. I started to swim toward him but suddenly a dark elongated shape shot directly between us. Apparently we were trespassing on the territory of a gray reef shark and he or she was clearly unhappy. My buddy and I turned and headed toward shore. But scared as I was I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the animal’s movements (while in college I thought about becoming an ethologist) and found myself pausing to see how many signs of pre-attack behavior I could tick off – swimming with an exaggerated motion (check); pectoral fins pointing down (yes, if you look closely); swimming in decreasing size circles around intended prey (no question about that one). Finally, my buddy grabbed my arm and yanked me toward the reef flat. After a couple of anxious minutes we made it to knee-deep water, all the while closely escorted by our finny friend.