Dr. Daniel Pauly and Dr. Rashid Sumaila

For the 50th anniversary of the Tyler Prize is proud to honor two champions of ocean sustainability – Dr. Daniel Pauly and Dr. Rashid Sumaila, for their rigorous scientific work to end overfishing and restore equity to our oceans. We recognize the importance of the oceans and the need to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and engage stakeholders globally to achieve this goal as envisioned by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

Daniel Pauly (Photo Credit: Kim Bellavance)

Daniel Pauly

Daniel Pauly is the founder and Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia. Born in France and raised in Switzerland, Pauly studied in Germany, where he acquired a doctorate in fisheries biology, zoology and physical oceanography from the University of Kiel.

Professor Pauly is being recognized for his critical contributions to fisheries ecology and conservation through the development of new ecosystem-based analytical approaches to assess global effects on world fisheries, and for helping the public visualize the decline of global fish stocks through The Sea Around Us and Fishbase.

Through creating comprehensive knowledge infrastructure platforms used by scientists worldwide, he has contributed decisively to the conservation and wise management of marine resources; made invaluable national and international contributions to marine ecology, fisheries science, and conservation biology; and established a more holistic approach to tackle global challenges of marine conservation and fisheries, human well-being, and food security.

He has spent much of his four decades of research documenting the rapid decline of marine and fresh-water fish. He gained worldwide recognition for popularizing the term ‘Shifting Baselines’ – which explains how knowledge of environmental declines fades over time, leading to a misguided understanding of change on our planet.

Since 2010, he is the world’s most-cited fisheries scientist. In 1994, Pauly became a Professor at UBC’s Fisheries Centre – now the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries – and was its Director from 2003 to 2008. In 1999, he founded the Sea Around Us – a large research initiative devoted to identifying and quantifying global fisheries trends.

Pauly has researched aquatic ecosystems in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas and developed widely used concepts and software for managing data-sparse fisheries. He is also the co-founder of FishBase.org, the online encyclopedia of more than 30,000 fish species, and has helped develop the widely used Ecopath modeling software.

Rashid Sumaila (Photo Credit: Kim Bellavance)

Rashid Sumaila

Rashid Sumaila is a University Killam Professor and Canada Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Ocean and Fisheries Economics at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, at the University of British Columbia.

Professor  Sumaila is being recognized for his integration of economics, ecology, and other disciplines to sustainably manage ocean fishery resources for the benefit of current and future generations, and for his work with communities on both local scales in Africa to global scale.

Through the application of game theory to the management of shared fish stocks, he explores optimal management of ocean fisheries; provides insights on how best to set catch quotas for interacting species and fishing sectors; recommends reducing subsidies for fishing; informs optimized benefits while ensuring long-term sustainability of critical fish stocks; and developed the concept of inter-generation discount rates that capture the long-term values derived from fisheries resources.

With roots in Nigeria and Ghana he received his B.Sc. degree (Quantity Surveying) from the Ahmadu Bello University (Nigeria), and his Ph.D. (Economics) from the University of Bergen (Norway).

Dr. Sumaila’s research focuses on bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, marine protected areas, illegal fishing, climate change, marine plastic pollution, and oil spills. The question of how to “bequeath a healthy ocean to our children and grandchildren, so they too can have the option to do the same” – is what drives his life’s work.

Sumaila 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, Brazil and South America, as well as Hong Kong and the South China Sea. These works have made Sumaila the world’s most cited fisheries economist, natural resource economist, and ocean policy expert.

We are pleased to honor Dr. Daniel Pauly and Dr. Rashid Sumaila as our 2023 Laureates.


Click here to access the 2023 Tyler Prize Press Kit