CEO Note: Oceana Board Members Dr. Pauly and Dr. Sumaila awarded top environmental honor | Oceana
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February 28, 2023

CEO Note: Oceana Board Members Dr. Pauly and Dr. Sumaila awarded top environmental honor


Oceana Board Members and renowned scientists Dr. Daniel Pauly and Dr. Rashid Sumaila were recently awarded the 2023 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for their “rigorous scientific work to end overfishing and restore equity to our oceans.” Also known as the “Nobel Prize for the Environment,” the Tyler Prize is awarded each year to leaders in environmental science and is administered by the University of Southern California. 

I could not think of two more deserving individuals to receive this prize and recognition. Daniel and Rashid joined Oceana’s Board in 2003 and 2018, respectively, and have since played an integral role in steering the science that drives our campaigns forward. Their contributions to the field have helped the world better understand our oceans and what must be done to protect and restore them.

Photo credit: Kim Bellavance

Daniel is the world’s most cited fisheries scientist, contributing new research on the state of global fisheries, including their rapid decline. For decades, he has expanded access to fisheries data for scientists, researchers, and the public. He co-founded FishBase, a widely used free database with information on 30,000+ fish species. He is also the founder and Principal Investigator of Sea Around Us, an initiative at the University of British Columbia (UBC) that assesses the impact of fisheries on the world’s marine ecosystems.

Rashid is also a key member of Sea Around Us and a professor and director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC. He is the world’s most cited fisheries economist. His work and impact span the globe, from Norway to Ghana to the South China Sea, ranging in critical topics including fisheries subsidies, climate change, marine protected areas, and more. In 2021, Rashid published “Infinity Fish,” a book detailing the economic and ecological benefits of restoring our oceans and fisheries.

The two have worked together for years, notably on the topic of fisheries subsidies, which drive overfishing around the world. Daniel and Rashid will share the $250,000 prize, which will support their work, research, and important programs like Sea Around Us and FishBase.

I asked Dr. Dan Skerritt, who worked alongside Daniel and Rashid at UBC and who recently joined Oceana as a Senior Analyst to reflect on their impact on Oceana: “As a scientist, I’d love to be able to quantify Daniel and Rashid’s impact on Oceana – but their influence is both too broad and too nuanced to be easily measured. Their sharp insights ground our ambitious campaigns in empirical evidence. Their complementary expertise gives Oceana scientists access to a wealth of knowledge covering practically all aspects of the ocean through every relevant discipline. In a world where the distinction between truth and fiction is increasingly blurred, their dedication to scientific accuracy and integrity is unwavering and inspirational.”

Simply put – Oceana is lucky to have these two ocean champions helping to shape the future of our campaigns. Please visit to read more about their achievement. Congratulations Daniel and Rashid!