Coast childhood inspiration for Fullbright scholar

By Christine Linnell

Growing up on the West Coast was all the inspiration Fullbright scholar Sunkita Howard needed to study fisheries and come up with a way to protect shark populations from longline fishing gear.
“The sea is a big presence in your life when you live in Punakaiki. You can hear it from anywhere,” Ms Howard, a University of Otago graduate student, said.
When she was a child her father used to take her to the shore to examine rock pools.
“I was immersed in it from a young age — no pun.”
Ms Howard is one of 27 recipients of this year’s Fulbright science and innovation graduate awards, announced at an awards ceremony in June.
Fulbright New Zealand was founded by bilateral treaty in 1948 to promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchanges between New Zealand and the United States.
In January, Ms Howard will depart for 12 months at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where she will research the use of weak electricity to reduce shark bycatch. The research will go toward her PhD.