Last week, the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean in the School of Biological Sciences, supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies and the Forrest Research Foundation hosted the globally renowned fisheries economist, Professor Rashid Sumaila for a scholarly visit, a Master Class in fisheries economics and a Public Lecture. Professor Sumaila is the Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. He specialises in bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and the economics of high seas and deep seas fisheries.
His pioneering research challenges the core tenets of traditional economics, prompting a rethink of the basic objectives of society with regards to oceans and fisheries. A prolific researcher and writer, he regularly also communicates with the public through print, broadcast, and online media interviews and expert commentary, as well as through social media.
He has been awarded numerous prizes and awards, including the highly prestigious 2017 Volvo Environmental Prize, the 2017 Peter Benchley Award for Excellence in Science, and most recently the University of British Columbia President's Award for Public Education through Media, among many others. He held a Leopold Leadership Fellowship and a Pew Marine Conservation Fellowship. He holds Guest or Visiting Professorships at numerous universities, including East China Normal University, and University of Tromsø, Norway.
His 2-day Master Class was attended by over 35 participants from UWA, Murdoch, Curtin, CSIRO and the Department of Primary Industries & Rural Development, and covered topics ranging from economic aspects of overfishing and fisheries subsides to bioeconomic theory and applied game theory. The class aimed to help participants better understand the most common fisheries economic theories and methods applicable to fisheries management and policy, and help them understand the economic literature better. Class attendees were deeply engaged, with very active participation by all, leading to ongoing discussions during lectures, breaks and after class.
Professor Sumaila also gave a well-attended and engaging IAS-Public Lecture titled “How to achieve a sustainable blue economy”. The question period after the lecture carried on for a considerable time, with much public interest in the challenges and economic solutions to our global fisheries problems.
The research and collaboration aspects of the visit has also led to a draft of a joint, collaborative research publication between Professors Sumaila and Zeller, and discussions were held on future collaborations and funding opportunities.
Overall, while a relatively short visit, it was highly successful, and the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean anticipates future, longer working visits as part of ongoing research and teaching collaborations with Professor Sumaila.
Professor Dirk Zeller (UWA School of Biological Sciences) 08 6488 3263