Our oceans and freshwater ecosystems are in crisis. Human activity — including climate change, overfishing, habitat loss, eutrophication – — has destabilized vital ecosystems and placed our collective future into question. New knowledge and solutions are needed to avoid repeating the ecological and economic collapses of the 20th century.

The UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) contributes to the transformative global shift toward sustainable oceans coastal ecosystems and fisheries. It brings together a community of Canadian and international experts in ocean and freshwater species, systems and economics — and provides new insights into how our marine systems function and adapt under natural and man-made stress. Our research groups focus on issues of local significance in Western Canada, including the Salish Sea and Strait of Georgia, as well as broader global concerns, such as artisanal fisheries in developing countries and high seas overfishing.

We work to understand how human activities impact the ecology of our marine ecosystems.

How will overfishing today affect global fish stocks in the future?
What are the consequences of human-induced climate change for the oceans?
How can human connections to the sea affect our ability to detect and adapt to marine environment changes?
How do we align ocean management with the interests and cultures of people who subsist off water systems?
How does the full spectrum of marine life function in, and impact, natural systems?
How can public policy be used to drive conservation, as well as economic benefits?

The IOF is constantly undertaking challenging new research in response to emerging issues, trends and awareness (microplastics, salmon population decline, aquaculture, etc.). We also collaborate with research scientists around the globe and with policy-makers at all levels. Research cannot exist and thrive in a vacuum and we are dedicated to ensuring that it is shared widely and transparently.