Suzuette Soomai Completes her Doctoral Research on the Role of Fisheries Information

Suzuette Soomai, Interdisciplinary PhD student with the EIUI research program, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on 30 October 2015. Her research focused on the role of fisheries scientific information in policy- and decision-making for fisheries management. She studied the information pathways – production, communication, and use of scientific information – at the operational level in the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans (national), the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (regional), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (global).

This doctoral research is the first comprehensive, empirical study of the role fisheries information at the science-policy interface. The research was conducted through internships within the three governmental organizations, by a comparative case study approach and mixed methods of interviews, direct observation, and documentary analysis. Theoretical and practical applications arise from this work. The research tested a methodology for understanding information use which revealed the leading drivers, enablers, and barriers in the information pathways in the case-study organizations. The results of this study can be used by the three organizations to evaluate and modify their information production and communication practices to strengthen the uptake of information in decision-making. Moreover, the methodology can be applied to governmental organizations in other fields of resource or environmental management.

During her studies, Suzuette held a prestigious three-year Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and she also received a Michael Smith Foreign Study grant awarded by SSHRC. Prior to her doctoral studies, Suzuette completed the Master of Marine Management degree at Dalhousie University, a MPhil and BSc (Zoology) from the University of West Indies, and worked as a Fisheries Officer with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Her doctoral research was supervised by Professor Bertrum MacDonald, along with advisors, Drs. Elizabeth De Santo, Peter Wells, and Boris Worm. The external examiner for her dissertation was Dr. Michael Fogarty, Senior Scientist with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, US National Marine Fisheries Service, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Further details about the dissertation are included in the abstract.