Dr. Himes-Cornell has over 16 years of experience working on sustainable fisheries management issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. She has practical experience in developing and undertaking projects and providing technical policy expertise focused on effective and efficient fisheries policy and management, overarching socio-economic impact analysis related to changes in the provision of fisheries ecosystem services, marine spatial planning, climate change adaptation, livelihood development, and fishing community vulnerability. Her work has varied widely from providing scientific advice to fisheries managers on the impacts of fisheries management to providing technical and policy advice to countries on a wide range of fisheries management issues to providing technical advice on endangered species conservation, each of which were centered in highly charged and conflict ridden environments spanning multiple sectors and cultures. She has provided technical advice on ecosystem service assessment and economic valuation to NGOs and national government entities in Africa, South America and Asia and led the development of a toolkit of ecosystem service assessment and valuation methodologies. She also analyzed the compatibility of sustainable blue growth standards with codes of conduct for sustainable marine wildlife viewing to advise the development of a sustainable whale watching industry in the Mediterranean Sea. She has additional experience working with partners to better understand the socio-economic effects of sustainable fisheries certification programs on individuals in the harvesting and processing sectors.

Current activities

Her current position as a Fishery Officer in NFI’s Assessment and Management Team focuses on multiple management issues in support of better and more sustainable fisheries production. Her recent work has included the development of technical guidance for tenure and user rights programs, the role of area-based fisheries management in conservation, interactions between fisheries and the environment, the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines, and the development of fishing community well-being indicators for monitoring fisheries management performance, all of which are highly relevant to NFI’s fisheries management work. She is also co-chair of the ICES Working Group on Social Indicators in Fisheries.

Previosly, she was a a social science researcher jointly at the University of Brest (UBO), AMURE and LABEX with primary focus on two major research projects: The Global Environment Facility's Blue Forests Project, which focused on defining and valuing ecosystem services in blue carbon habitats, and a European Union funded Horizon 2020 project called ECOpotential, which focused on mapping coastal ecosystem services with remote sensing technology. Prior to coming to UBO, Dr. Himes-Cornell was a social scientist at NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center where she focused on analyzing the importance of commercial, recreational and subsistence fishing to Alaskan communities. Recent research projects include: assessing the socio-economic effects of climate change on human uses of marine resources; the development of socio-economic indicators of community vulnerability, resilience and adaptability; assessing social network development in fishing communities; the development of qualitative and quantitative profiles for communities involved in North Pacific fisheries; a baseline social survey of Gulf of Alaska groundfish trawl fishery participants pre-catch share program implementation; interviews with participants in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab fisheries regarding issues with active participation, high lease rates and crew compensation; GIS mapping of community engagement and reliance on fishing; and creation of a database of translations of marine resources off the coast of Alaska into the main coastal Native languages.


Dr. Himes-Cornell got her start in the marine world with a bachelor's degree in marine science from the University of San Diego.  Following that, she went on to earn a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment with an emphasis on coastal zone management.  For her masters thesis at Duke, she studied fishermen's perceptions of a trawling ban in the Gulf of Castellammare in northwestern Sicily, Italy.  She continued her research at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, where she earned a joint Ph.D. in natural resource management and fisheries economics. The main objective of her dissertation was to investigate how different stakeholder groups define the concept of success in marine protected area management and how performance indicators can be used with stakeholder groups to explore how marine protected area performance can be improved.  After her Ph.D., she worked at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in San Diego, CA doing large scale habitat conservation planning. She was at AFSC between 2009 and 2015 and UBO between 2016 and 2017. She joined FAO at the end of 2017.

Notable accomplishments

  • Developed community well-being indices that incorporate social, fisheries and environmental variability data for analyzing of the effects of changes in social structure and fisheries resource availability associated with fisheries management changes or other large scale environmental changes (e.g., climate change) on fisheries-dependent communities, and monitoring the sustainability and well-being of fishing communities over time.
  • Development of online non-technical visualizations and documentation of the social characteristics and levels of fisheries dependence of communities across Alaska (http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/Socioeconomics/Projects/CPU.php)
  • Core team member for development of the NMFS Climate Science Strategy
  • Lead chapter author for the 2013 National Climate Assessment)
  • Co-lead of a NCEAS working group aimed at understanding the long term biological, oceanographic and socio-economic effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the Gulf of Alaska social-ecological system and how that knowledge can be used to improve predictions of future response to natural and anthropogenic changes.