Jury citation for the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize laureate
Professor Rashid Sumaila is one of the world’s most innovative researchers on the future of the oceans, integrating the social and economic dimensions with ecology, law, fisheries science and traditional knowledge to build novel pathways towards sustainable fisheries. His work has challenged today’s approaches to marine governance and generated exciting new ways of thinking about our relationship to the marine biosphere, such as protecting the high seas as a ‘fish bank’ for the world and using ‘intergeneration discount rates’ for natural resource projects.
Professor Rashid Sumaila takes an innovative, highly interdisciplinary approach to his research on the future of the world’s fisheries, triggering a rethink of society’s approaches to marine governance. He works with the real-world economy from local to global scales in both developed and developing countries, with a focus on equity and local livelihoods. His work has tackled a broad range of challenges at the interface of economics and ecology – use of marine protected areas as management tools; meeting the threats of oil spills, ocean acidification and climate change; and confronting the contentious issues of illegal fishing and subsidies to fishing industries. Professor Sumaila is relentlessly active at the science-policy interface, bringing his expert scientific knowledge into policy and governance discussions through collaboration with NGOs, national governments, and international organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union, the OECD and the World Trade Organization. He has taken his expertise to all corners of the planet, from presentations at the European Parliament to support for people of Ogoni in Nigeria whose fisheries were devastated by repeated oil spills. Open-minded and engaging, Professor Sumaila is known not only as an excellent communicator, but also as a good listener. In summary, Professor Sumaila is a highly effective, strongly interdisciplinary researcher tackling one of the most complex global sustainability challenges of the 21st century.