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Douglas Stuart Butterworth

The Order of Mapungubwe in

Douglas Stuart Butterworth Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the betterment of the environment and sustainability of fisheries.

Profile of Douglas Stuart Butterworth

Douglas Stuart Butterworth is currently a professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town. He holds an MSc from the same university. He read Fundamental Particle Physics at University College, University of London, where he received his PhD. Butterworth is an acknowledged world leader in the field of scientific fishery assessment, modelling and management. His teaching interests are in Biomathematics and Environmental Modelling. The nature of his research is deliberately applied, and is largely moti­vated by the need to provide sound scientific advice in relation to pressing current issues in the area of fisheries management. Butterworth’s contribution to the management of South African fisheries is unparalleled. He has been the primary driving force in lifting South African fisheries management to standards comparable with the best in the world.

In the international arena, Butterworth is highly influential, and the results of his investigations are treated with the greatest respect, even by those who hold opposing views. Butterworth’s primary contribution has been towards developing the “Management Procedure” approach to regulate fisheries. This provides a structured basis to take proper account of uncertainties in implementing the Precautionary Principle advocated by the 1992 United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was one of the prime movers in the development of this approach in the International Whaling Commission. Through his and his colleagues’ efforts, South Africa is now recognised as a world leader in applying this approach to its fisheries.

In addition, Butterworth has an impressive research output, publishing over 180 research articles and producing some five times this number of technical reports. The students he has trained now make important contributions to fisheries management not only locally, but also in Europe, the United States of America and Australia. Through the impact of his work, both locally and internationally, Butterworth has brought distinction to South African scientific research.

Furthermore, he has provided advice on fisheries in 12 other countries and participated in the scientific committees of seven regional fisheries-management organisations as well as those of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species. His work spans almost the complete range of living marine resources, ranging from the largest in whales, seals and tuna to the smallest in anchovy and Antarctic krill.Butterworth has made a profound contribution to his chosen field of study to help humankind preserves nature’s endowments and has in so doing left a durable heritage for coming generations.