Keith Sainsbury

By March 25th, 2011


Dr Keith Sainsbury obtained a Bachelor of Science with Honours (marine ecology and mathematics) from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1972, and a Doctorate of Philosophy (population dynamics and marine ecology) from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1977. He joined CSIRO in 1977, retiring from the Organisation in 2006 to become Director of SainSolutions Pty Ltd, a company that provides scientific advice on the sustainable development of marine ecosystems, particularly ecosystem-based fishery management and integrated ecosystem-based management of regional ecosystems.

He is a marine ecologist and mathematical modeller, with a research focus on the assessment, ecology, exploitation and conservation of marine resources and ecosystems. He has directed and conducted research on two main areas:

  • to support ecologically sustainable fisheries practice and management
  • to assess the cumulative impacts of human use on regional marine ecosystems and support regional multiple-use management.

Research interests

His work has included fishery management of resources that range from abalone to tuna and from Sub-Antarctic toothfish to tropical snappers. It has also included support to develop and implement Australia’s Oceans Policy to address integrated oceans management; major research programs to support sustainable coastal zone management on the North West Shelf and Ningaloo Reef regions of Western Australia; and identification of Marine Protected Areas of continental shelf/slope and seamount systems in Australia.


Notable activities include:

2008 Provided an expert review for the development of FAO guidelines on the use of ecolabelling for fishery products
2007 Member of the independent panel at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) to provide a model for improved governance by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations
2006 Chair of the scientific panel of the OECD Ministerial Working Group on IUU (illegal, unregulated and unreported) fishing
2005 Member of the panel appointed by the Federal Minister for the Environment to help establish a representative system of Marine Protected Areas in SE Australia
2003 Chair of the FAO expert consultancy that developed guidelines for the ecosystem approach to fisheries management
1995 Invited participant in the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) expert consultancy that provided guidelines for the precautionary approach in fisheries
  Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the London-based Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and a member of the Council’s Technical Advisory Board. The MSC assesses the sustainability of fishery resources and supplies an Ecolabel to fisheries that pass the MSC standard.
  Commissioner on the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Australian federal fishery regulator, and chairs the AFMA Environment Committee
  External advisor to the Marine Management Initiative of the US based Moore Foundation
  Selector for the Marine Fellowship program of the US based Pew Foundation
  Professor of Marine System Science at the University of Tasmania, Australia
  Strategic advisor to the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship program on integrated coastal zone research and management

Honours and awards

In 2004, Dr Sainsbury was awarded the Japan Prize for his contribution to understanding and management of shelf ecosystems.


  • Sainsbury KJ, 2008, Personal communication.
Find out more
  • Ocean focus needed for future wealth, seafood, 2004 (Media Release)
  • CSIRO scientist wins highest global award for fisheries research, 2003 (Media Release)