Don Kent is president of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, a leading, international marine research institute that is dedicated to ensuring that future generations experience the benefits of a healthy environment by gaining scientific knowledge and finding practical solutions to the most critical conservation challenges facing marine ecosystems and species. Don came to the Institute in 1977 as a SDSU graduate student working on the growth characteristics of striped bass. He has participated on numerous Institute programs studying gray whales, assessing noise effects on animals, minimizing killer whale impacts on fishing operations and, closest to his interest, the development of marine finfish aquaculture. Don has led the Institute since 1998. In that time the Institute has experienced the largest expansion in its history.
Don was instrumental in initiating the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP), a highly successful partnership of the recreational fishing community, the California Department of Fish and Game and the California Legislature created to investigate ways to counteract the depletion of California’s coastal marine fisheries through stock enhancement. He is also responsible for the planning and construction of the Leon Raymond Hubbard, Jr. Marine Fish Hatchery in Carlsbad, where they have reared, raised and released more than one million white seabass into California waters over the last 20 years.
Don is active on numerous civic and community organizations including, Chair, California Artificial Reef Enhancement (CARE) Program; Member, San Diego Downtown Rotary Club; Member, Military Industrial Legal Media Education Complex (MILMEC); Member, NOAA Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). He is an Adjunct Professor at San Diego State University and a Research Associate at University of San Diego. In June 2007, Don received the Stewardship and Sustainability Award from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for his pioneering research on marine finfish aquaculture and stock replenishment. Although it was only the second year the awards had been presented, it was the first time any award in the eight categories had been tied to work in aquaculture.
Don is a native San Diegan and lives in Olivenhain, California with his family.