Dr. Himes-Cornell is currently a fisheries officer in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Current activities

Dr. Himes-Cornell is currently a fisheries officer in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Her current focus is on the use of area-based management tools in fisheries, coastal community vulnerability and resilience, social transformation of fisheries social-ecological systems, fisheries tenure and user rights, socio-economic impacts of climate change, the socio-economic aspects of marine ecosystem services, valuation of ecosystem services, and assessing ecosystem services in marine protected areas. She is collaborating on the development of 1) advice to assist countries in meeting the spatial conservation goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2) a monitoring and evaluation framework for implementation of FAO's Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines, and 3) a manual to guide the implementation of fisheries tenure, access and user rights systems. 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.