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Peter Kuriyama, Research Mathematical Statistician

May 03, 2021

Meet Peter Kuriyama, a research mathematical statistician with the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

Peter Kuriyama holds catch Peter Kuriyama holds his catch. Credit: Peter Kuriyama

What is your key responsibility?  

I do stock assessments for coastal pelagic species. The results of these assessments inform fisheries management on the west coast of the United States. 

Where did you grow up?  

Solana Beach, California.

What is your educational background?  

I did my undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara and Ph.D. at University of Washington. My dissertation mainly looked at the impact of catch share implementation on the U.S. West Coast groundfish fishery.

What are your hobbies?      

I like surfing, cooking, reading, and basketball.

Peter Kuriyama in forest
Peter Kuriyama enjoying nature. Credit: Peter Kuriyama

Is there a book, quote, or person that influenced you to be the person that you are today?  

My parents and grandparents are strong influences. A couple recent books, The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama and Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu, have been impactful. The Color of Air tells a story of a Japanese immigrant family working on sugarcane plantations in Hawai'i. Japanese immigrants came to Hawai'i thinking that they would work on plantations for a couple of years, but plantation owners prevented them from returning home and forced them to continue working. My ancestors worked on these plantations in Hawai'i and likely had similar experiences. Interior Chinatown excavates Asian-American stereotypes in pop culture. I regularly listen to the podcast Time to Say Goodbye, which discusses Asian America among many other topics. 

What does Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Month mean to you? What does being a career civil servant mean to you?

To be honest, I didn't even know that May was Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Unfortunately, I think this year it will be featured more prominently than in previous years. I think months of awareness are good, and hopefully they motivate people to keep learning and acting year-round. 

While there are often challenges to the work, I feel fortunate to be able to do science that helps to sustainably manage fisheries.