Annie Lalancette

Country: Canada

Annie Lalancette has a diverse background. She holds a B.Sc. in biology, a M.Sc. in environmental immunotoxicology, a graduate diploma in Environmental Impact Assessment and an interdisciplinary PhD. in social sciences. She volunteered for a year at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands where she conducted a study combining local fishers’ knowledge of lobster distribution with subtidal monitoring data. During her PhD., she worked with indigenous Torres Strait Islanders in northern Australia to investigate their perspectives about fisheries management and the potential impacts of proposed measures for the tropical rock lobster fishery. She is currently a MEOPAR postdoctoral fellow at Saint Mary’s University, working on community-based responses to marine hazards in Canada.

Annie’s work over the last ten years has focused on coastal communities’ resilience and wellbeing, particularly in the context of fishing. Her research aims to understand and then communicate different perspectives in order to contribute to the development of equitable and sustainable marine environmental management practices.

Q: What are you currently working on within the context of small-scale fisheries?

I am currently working on different publications. I am co-authoring with Tony Charles two articles based on results from my postdoctoral research with Canadian coastal municipalities, a large proportion of which heavily rely on small-scale fishing. The first article will present a general portrait of coastal municipalities’ responses to hazards based on a national questionnaire we conducted. The second will focus on two case-studies – Tofino, BC and Clare, NS – two municipalities where small-scale fisheries have played, and continue to play to different degrees, an important role in the economy, history and identity of its inhabitants. I am also finalizing with Monica Mulrennan publications from my doctoral research that: (1) challenge the notion that indigenous fishing practices are “inefficient” by demonstrating how the fishing practices of Torres Strait Islanders directly contribute to their wellbeing and/or to the resilience of certain valued features of the social-ecological system; and (2) demonstrate how the current fisheries governance structures, processes and discourses exclude and render silent the priorities of Islanders, in particular those related to Islander ontologies.

Q: If you could single out one or two most significant factors for securing sustainability of small-scale fisheries, what would these factors be?

Unequal power relations between small-scale fishers and other actors involved in marine governance is a major issue often resulting in their marginalization. Strengthening the case for small-scale and indigenous fishers’ rights can be an avenue for them to secure equitable and long-term access to a healthy resource. This is nothing original, but I also believe we need a long overdue paradigm shift in fisheries management to finally get rid of “optimal utilization” as a prime objective to start managing fisheries against a range of ecological, social, and cultural objectives.

<< Back to Member of the Week