Researcher in Profile: Dr. Dyhia Belhabib

Dr. Dyhia Belhabib is a Program Manager of Fisheries and Principal Investigator of I-Sea Fisheries at Ecotrust Canada, an OceanCanada partner. Dyhia works on fisheries access and policy and tries to integrate the notions of adjacency, fairness, and accountability as she works on multidimensional issues relating to community and industrial fisheries in Canada and globally. Since she believes in the power of information democracy, she leads a project that records the criminal activity of high mobility fishing vessels, researches the economics of fishing and fish-related crimes and their impacts on small-scale communities in the world, and engages with governments and other stakeholders to implement research findings in policy.

Dyhia mobilizes interdisciplinary research through academic scholars and community partners to yield novel insights and realize meaningful changes. This requires not only “hard data,” but also a nuanced understanding of the economic and political landscape of the countries she investigates. In addition, she explores the notions of social finance, decolonization of fisheries and natural resource sectors, and the economics of access rights. Dyhia’s work largely focuses on adding transparency and insight through extensive research on fisheries in Canada and abroad. In Western Canada, this translates into analyzing the impacts of market driven fisheries management tools on coastal communities, and researching sustainable alternatives that will allow communities to re-capture the benefits from their adjacent resources.

Dyhia’s research on assessing the economics of fish crimes has had a significant impact on policy, notably in Africa. Her research has been featured numerous times in various media, notably The New York Times. A strong believer in science communication and policy engagement, she thinks of herself as one of those researchers, economists, and policy advocates who reside at the bottom of the ivory tower. Dyhia completed her PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC, in 2014, just hours before she had a baby.

Dyhia is also on the board of the National Centre for Fisheries and Aquaculture Research of Algeria and the FishTracker initiative, is the editor on the topic of illegal fishing as a trans-national crime for the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, and a contributing author for the Africa chapter of the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Dyhia maintains a Researcher’s Diary, writing about her research findings in accessible language.

Twitter: @dyhiapadilla