Stephanie Foucault


Thesis Topic

The creation of a global cost of fishing in the high seas database to identify the socio-economic costs and the global distribution of costs for high seas fisheries.


Dr. Rashid Sumaila


Bachelor of Science in Zoology, University of Guelph

Research Unit

Fisheries Economics Research Unit (FERU)


My name is Stephanie Foucault and my preferred pronouns are they/them. I am a social justice advocate, a creator, a lifelong learner, a community organizer, an ocean leader and a free spirit, through and through. I am currently living in Vancouver BC, the traditional and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. I was born and raised in Sudbury ON, the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg in Robinson-Huron Treaty territory. I have a BSc in Zoology from the University of Guelph and am currently a MSc student at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia.

My thesis, supervised by Dr. Rashid Sumaila, focuses on the creation of a global cost of fishing in the high seas database to identify the costs and the global distribution of costs for commercial fisheries in high seas fisheries. The threats to the high seas—covering nearly 60% of the global ocean and 95% of all living space on earth—have reached a critical mass in recent years. Today, the biggest threat to the high seas is overfishing; however, gaps in the current legal framework means that these threats cannot be adequately addressed in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). With this in mind, researchers have proposed a radical idea to rethink high seas fisheries management. Rather than treating the high seas as open to commercial fishing, why don’t we reverse this view and treat the high seas as closed to commercial fishing? In recent years, two major papers by White and Costello (2014) and Sumaila et al. (2015) have explored the idea of closing the high seas to commercial fishing in more detail. The idea is founded on economic theory; since the open-access nature of the high seas leads to the economic rationality of overfishing, removing open-access will put an end to overfishing. As a fisheries economist, Sumaila (2015) suggested that closing the high seas to commercial fishing would provide net benefits globally, while also improving the distribution of benefits among maritime countries. Since no formal documentation on the costs of high seas fisheries exists to date, this research is essential to quantify the current costs to society of managing high seas fisheries in order to compare the current costs with the potential costs of closing the high seas to commercial fishing.

I am also a program specialist/mentor/facilitator for the federal Ocean Bridge program with Ocean Wise. Ocean Bridge connects Canadian youth from coast to coast empowering them to make a difference towards ocean conservation. Each year 160 youth (ages 18-30) form a national team engaged in co-creating and delivering service projects for their home communities and two immersive learning journeys addressing Ocean Health and Ocean Literacy in Canada. As an alumnus of the program (2018), I have had the incredible opportunity to witness the power of youth, emergence, and Indigenous stewardship in ocean conservation and hope to include these learned lessons in my academic work!

Research Interests

Fisheries economics; high seas fisheries management; global ocean governance; international ocean policy; international cooperation; social justice; intersectional environmentalism; traditional ecological knowledge; rights of indigenous peoples; transparent decision-making.


2020-2021 Rick Hansen “Man-In-Motion” Fellowship
2020-2021 Special IOF Graduate Award
2015-2018 Aboriginal PSET Award
2014 Rol-Land Farms Scholarship
2014 Doris Thompson Lane Memorial Scholarship

Contact Information


Social Media

LinkedIn: Stephanie Foucault
Instagram: @humans.of.the.ocean