Sumaila is Professor and Director, Fisheries Economics Research Unit & the OceanCanada Partnership at the University of British Columbia. He specializes in bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, illegal fishing, climate change and oil spills.
Sumaila is deeply interested in how economics, through integration with ecology and other disciplines, can be used to help ensure that environmental resources are sustainably managed for the benefit of all generations. He has experience working in fisheries and natural resource projects in Norway, Canada and the North Atlantic region, Namibia and the Southern African region, Ghana and the West African region and Hong Kong and the South China Sea. Sumaila has published extensively, including in Science, Nature and the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. He is winner of the 2017 Volvo Environmental Prize, 2017 Benchley Oceans Award in Science; 2016 UBC Killam Research Prize; 2013 American Fisheries Society Excellence in Public Outreach Award; 2009 Stanford Leopold Leadership Fellowship and 2008 Pew Marine Fellowship. Sumaila was named a Hokkaido University Ambassador in 2016. He has given talks at the UN Rio+20, the WTO, the White House, the Canadian Parliament, the African Union, the European Union and the British House of Lords. His research has generated a great deal of interest, and has been cited by, among others, The Economist, The Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, the Globe and Mail, the Wall Street Journal and Vancouver Sun.