January 5, 2024

"Our lives depend on the ocean," says Dr. Rashid Sumaila. That is indeed the mantra the professor follows—and has made the center of his planet-saving, globe-spanning research. Now, NewAfrican Magazine is calling Sumaila a "global champion of the oceans," naming him as one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2023.

Originally from Nigeria, Sumaila is the Canada Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Ocean and Fisheries Economics at the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, and a professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. He is "one of the leading experts in, and campaigners for, ocean health and economy," according to NewAfrican. "His pioneering work includes applying game theory to fisheries, rethinking discount rates for natural resource projects, analyzing government subsidies to global fisheries, documenting employment in fisheries, estimating the benefits of rebuilding fish stocks and establishing marine reserves."

"(Sumaila's) groundbreaking ‘fish bank’ concept for the high seas has the potential to advance global ocean conservation. His work on international fisheries subsidies has impacted World Trade Organization negotiations and he has provided expert advice to the White House, United Nations, Asian Development Bank, and parliamentary bodies in Canada and the UK."

Last year Sumaila received the 2023 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, known as the Nobel Prize for the Environment.

"The world is connected," says Dr. Sumaila, "and I deeply believe that the big global issues cannot be solved by one discipline."

Read our Q&A with Dr. Sumaila.

Find out more about the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries.


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