Many scientists argue that we are facing a crisis in world fisheries, with overfishing threatening the ability of the oceans to continue supporting livelihoods, businesses and appetites. About a third of all fish stocks are overfished, yet from society’s point of view, overfishing is biologically, socially, and economically wasteful. Why, then, does overfishing persist, and what can we do about overfishing and overconsumption? At the Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie, I am seeking answers to these questions.
What can we do?
Countries generally try to govern fisheries production, while governing seafood consumption has largely come through the work of NGOs. But measuring and evaluating conservation gains through combining insights from both ends of the value chain has been largely neglected. My work focuses on understanding how information from connecting fisheries production and consumption, for example through labeling and traceability, can help lead countries, the legal stewards of our oceans, to better cooperate in ocean governance.
How do we do it?
Seafood value chains are global and complex, therefore my students and I work with partners in Canada, the US, Europe, Indonesia, the Philippines, Fiji, Vietnam and Australia to promote cooperation in fisheries governance through improved understanding of the role states, NGOs and consumers have in the sustainable seafood movement. In our research, we use qualitative methods, such as interviews, surveys and focus group discussions, and quantitative methods, such as bioeconomic and game-theoretic modelling.
What do we hope to achieve?
By analyzing current trends in sustainable seafood governance from a full value chain perspective, such as movements towards traceability and certifications, and improved regional management through supra-national organizations, my work offers insights into governance solutions for ocean and coastal resources.