What Defines Sustainable Fisheries?
In Canada and around the world, fisheries provide jobs and food for millions of people. Yet the warming of our climate is changing the distribution of fish in the sea, putting unprecedented pressure on fishing communities to adapt to changes in available catch.
Dr. Aaron MacNeil, Canada Research Chair in Fisheries Ecology, will help address this challenge by shedding light on how communities in Canada generate fisheries benefits across a range of social and environmental contexts.
Traditional fisheries management has set quotas by focusing on the biological aspects of any given fish stock, equating larger catches with increased economic benefits. Yet people fish for different reasons. It isn’t always simply about money, but can also be to support their sense of belonging, culture and identity. MacNeil and his research team will conduct social-ecological research in a range of Canadian fisheries to examine the socio-cultural, ecological and economic limits that allow people to keep fishing; the factors that influence their ability to adapt; and what role climate change plays in a fishing community’s productivity or vulnerability to changing ecosystems.
MacNeil and his team will work collaboratively with fishers, managers, and Indigenous communities to develop new methods to characterize the sustainability of fisheries to include social and cultural factors that are often not considered in current management practice.
MacNeil’s research will contribute to our understanding of small-scale fisheries. It will also lead to better training for Canadian scientists and fisheries managers, and ultimately better support the development of sustainable resource management.