Staff & Associates

Ratana Chuenpagdee 

Project Director

Ratana Chuenpagdee is Professor at Department of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada. She held a position of Canada Research Chair in Natural Resource Sustainability and Community Development at Memorial University from 2006-2016. Her research emphasizes interdisciplinary approaches to coastal, fisheries, and ocean governance, focusing particularly on small-scale fisheries, marine protected areas, community-based management, and food security. Dr. Chuenpagdee is a project director of the Too Big To Ignore: Global Partnership for Small-scale Fisheries Research (TBTI) and one of the editors of the 2017 book ‘The small-scale fisheries guidelines: Global implementation’.


Vesna Kereži

Project Manager

Vesna Kereži is currently the Project Manager of the Too Big To Ignore: Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research project. She holds a M.Sc. in the Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. In the past, she studied human-wildlife interactions with a focus on socio–cultural aspects of these interactions. Her interests lie in natural resource management, human dimensions of fisheries, and knowledge mobilization and transformation.

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Melinda Agapito

Senior Research Fellow / Project Admin

Melinda Agapito is a research fellow with the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) project. She obtained a PhD in Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada. Her PhD focused on developing a conservation decision-making method to help identify conservation areas. Her research interests include food security and conservation and she has experience with the conservation and fisheries settings in the Philippines and Northwest Atlantic (Canada). She currently works on small-scale fisheries research focusing on food security and ecological impacts of fishing gears.


Alicia Said

Postdoctoral fellow

Alicia is a post-doctoral fellow with the Too Big To Ignore Global Partnership for Fisheries Research, and her research interests include resource governance, socio-economic and socio-ecological resilience, and sustainable livelihoods in the context of small-scale and artisanal fisheries. She has a PhD in Biodiversity Management and Human Ecology at the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent (UK). With TBTI, she is conducting regional and global research on the governance of different fishing communities by fostering the development of a governability index and progressing on a systematic approach towards transdisciplinary fisheries research.

Mirella Leis

Research Fellow

Mirella de Oliveira Leis is a research assistant with Too Big To Ignore Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research, based at Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Ms. Leis holds a BSc degree in Oceanography from the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil (2008-2012), and an M.Sc. degree in Geography from Memorial University, Canada (2013-2016). She has been awarded the distinction of Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies as a recognition of outstanding achievement in a graduate program in 2016. Her research focuses on small-scale fisheries, marine conservation, and marine protected area governance.


Ahmed Khan

Research Associate

Ahmed is an interdisciplinary scholar interested in the complex and myriad inter-linkages between the environment, the economy and society. He employs both conceptual and analytical tools in understanding best management practices in sustaining natural resources and human well-being at multiple scales. Most of my research foci have been on fisheries sustainability issues globally, as well as regionally (West Africa, Caribbean region) and nationally (Canada). He contributed to UNEP’s ecosystem-based adaptation flagship program in Seychelles and to the governance of ecosystem services in the upper Nile in East Africa. He is currently working for International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada.