Presentation: Dr. Sumaila discusses OceanCanada’s innovative research at Peter Wall International Research Colloquium

Dr. Rashid Sumaila participated in the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies The International Research Colloquium on Monday, 27 April 2015, showcasing the novel approaches to research currently used by OceanCanada and allied projects. Sumaila and other project leaders outlined key “levers” they have identified, which could turn the ocean and its fisheries from decline into recovery.

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In the environment session in the early afternoon, U. Rashid Sumaila and Cornelia E Nauen reported on the international roundtable organised about a year ago under the title “Spaceship Earth – Meeting the Challenges for Living on the Blue Planet under Siege”.

The talk gave a flavour of the innovative format of the roundtable and acknowledged the great contributions of everybody.

Rashid Sumaila and Cornelia Nauen give their talk while moderator Chris Harley looks on

The participants deliberately invited for their diverse professional and cultural background had first taken stock of what is already known. They had then identified key “levers” which they could act on to turn the ocean and its fisheries from decline into recovery.

Learning journeys to meet passionate people in the sciences, arts, social work, communication and other areas – on campus and in town – had opened new vistas on “old problems”. New narratives to provide context to “dry” stats and connect to people’s lives are needed to complement the rich scientific literature.

The core of the talk shared what fellow travellers have done since the roundtable to keep its enthusiasm and energy alive and act on what we know. This is a selection of activities:

  • Rashid Sumaila’s research on subsidies to the fishing industry supported the work of the Global Ocean Commission of political and business leaders in developing its eight recommendations for recovery.
  • Participant Paolo Dini at the London School of Economics has further investigated how community currencies can underpin non-capitalist markets. The theoretical work is being complemented by empirical study e.g. of SARDEX (used by thousands of companies in Sardinia, Italy).
  • Participant Aylin Ulman, how doing her PhD research in Italy, produced advisories for responsible behaviour in relation to the ocean for different user groups. They are currently being illustrated.
  • Rashid Sumaila is using the approaches of the roundtable in coordinating work of the collaborative project “Oceans Canada”, particularly in connecting with First Nations groups.
  • Cornelia Nauen is coordinating editors and contributors to the book about the roundtable. Contributors are both participants and some of those who would have liked to participate but could not.

The Q&A session showed the interest of the colloquium participants and revealed how many of the issues discussed are connected at some level. The breaks and socials allowed to continue the inspiring exchange. The slides are available here.