Rashid Sumaila

Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
Fisheries Economics Research Unit
OceanCanada Partnership

Canada Research Chair (Tier I, Interdisciplinary Ocean and Fisheries Economics)

Degrees: B.Sc. Quantity Surveying, M.Sc. Economics, Ph.D. Economics

Contact Information

Email: r.sumaila@oceans.ubc.ca
Office phone: 604-822-0224
Publications: view
Website: Fisheries Economics Research Unit, OceanCanada Partnership

Twitter: @DrRashidSumaila; @FisheryEconomic; @OceanCanada

Research Interests

Environmental and Resource Economics, Globalization, Fish Trade and Sustainability, Applied Game Theory, Sustainable Development, Computational Economics. I currently focus on three related themes: (i) coastal and marine ecosystem valuation and bioeconomic (i.e., human-environmental) modeling of coastal and marine ecosystems that address topical issues such as the use of spatial marine protected areas as coastal and ocean management tools; (ii) the analysis of the economic, social and food security issues related to threats to coastal and marine ecosystems such as climate change, ocean acidification and oil spills; and (iii) the analysis of global coastal and marine ecosystem policy issues such as fisheries subsidies, illegal fishing, trade in fish and fisheries products, and their effects on marine conservation goals and policies.


Dr. Ussif Rashid Sumaila is Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. He specializes 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 and deep seas fisheries. Sumaila has experience working in fisheries and natural resource projects in Norway, Canada and the North Atlantic region, Namibia and the Southern African region, Ghana and the West African region and Hong Kong and the South China Sea. He has published articles in several journals including, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Bioeconomics, Land Economics, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Environmental and Resource Economics and Ecological Economics. Sumaila’s work has generated a great deal of interest, and has been cited by, among others, the Economist, the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune, and the Vancouver Sun.

Awards and Honours

  • 2019 Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
  • 2017 Volvo Environment Prize
  • 2017 Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Science
  • 2016: Named as a Hokkaido University Ambassador (2016-2019)
  • 2016: Won UBC’s Killam Faculty Research Prize for “outstanding research and scholarly contributions”
  • 2013 Excellence in Public Outreach Award from the American Fisheries Society
  • 2013: Received the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies International Roundtable Award
  • 2012: Named Johan Hjort Chair by the Nordic Centre for Research on Marine Ecosystems and Resources under Climate Change (NorMER).
  • 2009: Named Leopold Leadership Fellow
  • 2008: Named Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation
  • 2007: Named Senior Early Career Scholar by UBC’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
  • 2007: Project member of the Coasts Under Stress project, which won the 2007 Craigdarroch Award for Societal Contribution from the University of Victoria
  • 2006: one of the authors of the “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment”, which won the Zayed International Prize for the Environment
  • 2004: Named Dr. W.F. James Chair of Studies in the Pure and Applied Sciences by St. Francis Xavier University


  • Environmental Economics (Undergraduate, 2003, UBC);
  • Land and Forestry Economics (Graduate, 2002, UBC);
  • Critical Issues in Fisheries (Graduate, 2002, UBC);
  • Fisheries Economics (Graduate, 2002, UBC);
  • Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (Graduate, 1999-2001, University of Tromsø);
  • Natural Resource Economics (Undergraduate, 1999-present, University of Namibia);
  • Applied Game Theory (Graduate, 2000, UBC).

Selected Publications (short list)

Sumaila, U. R., Zeller, D., Hood, L., Palomares, M. L. D., Li, Y., & Pauly, D. (2020). Illicit trade in marine fish catch and its effects on ecosystems and people worldwide. Science Advances, 6(9), eaaz3801.

Cinner, Joshua E., Jessica Zamborain-Mason, Georgina G. Gurney, Nicholas AJ Graham, M. Aaron MacNeil, Andrew S. Hoey, Camilo Mora, U.R Sumaila and others (2020). Meeting fisheries, ecosystem function, and biodiversity goals in a human-dominated world. Science 368, no. 6488 (2020): 307-311.

Sumaila, U.R., Tai, T.C., Lam, V.W.Y., Cheung, W.W.L., Bailey, M., Cisneros-Montemayor, A.M., Chen, O.L., Gulati, S.S. (2019). Benefits of the Paris Agreement to ocean life, economies, and people. Science Advances, 5(2), eaau3855.

Sumaila, U. R., Ebrahim, N., Schuhbauer, A., Skerritt, D., Li, Y., Kim, H. et al. (2019). Updated estimates and analysis of global fisheries subsidies. Marine Policy, 109, 103695.

Sumaila, U.R. (2019). A carding system as an approach to increasing the economic risk of engaging in IUU fishing? Frontiers in Marine Science, 6:34. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00034.

Sumaila, U. R., Villasante, S., & Le Manach, F. (2019). Fisheries subsidies wreck ecosystems, don’t bring them back. Nature, 571, 36-36.

Abbott, J.K., Sumaila, U.R. (2019). Reducing marine plastic pollution: policy insights from economics. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. rez007, https://doi.org/10.1093/reep/rez007.

Steiner NS, Cheung WWL, Cisneros-Montemayor AM, Drost H, Hayashida H, Hoover C, Lam J, Sou T, Sumaila UR, Suprenand P, Tai T, VanderZwaag D. 2019. Impacts of the changing ocean-sea ice system on the key forage fish Arctic cod (Boreogadus Saida) and subsistence fisheries in the Western Canadian Arctic: evaluating linked climate, ecosystem and economic (CEE) models. Frontiers in Marine Science. 6:179.

Sumaila UR, Cheung WWL. 2015. Boom or bust: the future of fish in the South China Sea. ADM Capital Foundation. Hong Kong: OceanAsia.

Sumaila, U.R. (2018). Illicit Trade in the Marine Resources of West Africa. Ghana Journal of Economics, 6, 108-116.

Sumaila, U.R. (2018). Comparative valuation of fisheries in Asian Large Marine Ecosystems with emphasis on the East China Sea and South China Sea LMEs. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2018.12.008.

Sumaila, U. R. et al. (2017). Investments to reverse biodiversity loss are economically beneficial. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 748.

Sumaila UR, Cheung WWL, Cury PM, Tai T. 2017. Climate change, marine ecosystems and global fisheries. In: Ninan KN, Inoue M, editors. Building a climate resilient economy and society: challenges and opportunities. Cheltenham (UK): Edward Elgar.

Sumaila, U.R., Cisneros-Montemayor, A.M., Dyck, A., Huang, L., Cheung, W.W.L., Jacquet, J., Kleisner, K., Lam, V.W.Y., McCrea-Strub, A., Swartz, W., Watson, R., Zeller, D., and Pauly, D. (2012). Impact of the Deepwater Horizon well blowout on the Economics of U.S. Gulf fisheries. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 69: 499-510.

Sumaila, U.R. and Huang, L. (2012). Managing Bluefin Tuna in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Policy, 36: 502–511.

Collette, B.B., U.R. Sumaila and others (2011). High Value and Long Life—Double Jeopardy for Tunas and Billfishes. Science, 333: 291-292.

Pereira, H. M., Leadley, P.W., Sumaila, U.R., and others (2010). Scenarios for Global Biodiversity in the 21st Century. Science, 330(6010): 1496-1501.

Sumaila, U.R., Cheung, W.W.L., Dyck, A., Gueye, K., Huang, L., Lam, V.W.Y., Pauly, D., Srinivasan, T., Swartz, W., Pauly, D., and Zeller, D. (2012). Benefits of rebuilding global marine fisheries outweigh costs. PLoS ONE 7(7), e40542, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040542.

Sumaila, U.R. (2012). Seas, Oceans and Fisheries: A Challenge for Good Governance. The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs 101(2), 157-166.

Swartz, W., Sumaila, U.R., and Watson, R. (2012). Global Ex-Vessel Fish Price Database revisited: a new approach for estimating ‘missing’ prices. Journal of Environmental and Resource Economics, DOI: 10.1007/s10640-012-9611-1.

Srinivasan, T., Watson, R., Sumaila, U.R. (2012). Global Fisheries Losses at the Exclusive Economic Zone Level, 1950 to Present. Marine Policy, 36, 544-549.

Halpern, B.S., Longo, C., Hardy, D., McLeod, K.L., Samhouri, J.F., Katona, S.K., Kleisner, K., Lester, S.E., O’Leary, J., Ranelletti, M., Rosenberg, A.A., Scarborough, C., Selig, E.R., Best, B.D., Brumbaugh, D.R., Chapin, F.S., Crowder, L.B., Daly, K.L., Doney, S.C., Elfes, C., Fogarty, M.J., Gaines, S.D., Jacobsen, K.I., Karrer, L.B., Leslie, H.M., Neeley, E., Pauly, D., Polasky, S., Ris, B., St. Martin, K., Stone, G.S., Sumaila, U.R., and Zeller, D. (2012). An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean. Nature, 488: 615-620.

Ishimura, G., Herrick, S. and Sumaila, U.R. (2012). Fishing games under climate variability: transboundary management of Pacific sardine in the California Current System. Environmental Economics and Policy, DOI: 10.1007/s10018-012-0048-0.

Sumaila U.R., Cheung W.W.L., Lam, V.W.Y., Pauly, D., Herrick S (2011). Climate change impacts on the biophysics and economics of world fisheries. Nature Climate Change, 1: 449-456.

Lam, V.W.Y., Sumaila, U.R., Dyck, A., Pauly, D., and Watson, R. (2011). Construction and first applications of a global cost of fishing database. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68(9): 1996-2004.

Sumaila, U.R., Khan, A., Dyck, A., Watson, R., Munro, G., Tyedmers, P., and Pauly, D. (2010). A bottom up re-estimation of global fisheries subsidies. Journal of Bioeconomics, 12: 201–225.

Sumaila, U.R. (2010). A cautionary note on individual transferable quotas. Ecology and Society, 15(3): 36.

Dyck, A. and Sumaila, U.R. (2010) Economic impact of ocean fish populations in the global fishery. Journal of Bioeconomics, 12: 227–243.