MSc with Terre Satterfield & Rashid Sumaila, 2022
Food and Livelihood Security, Small Scale Fisheries Management, Social ecological systems
Allison Cutting was a Master of Science student at the Institute for Resources Environment and Sustainability (IRES), co-supervised by Dr. Terre Satterfield and Dr. Rashid Sumaila. Raised on the Salish Sea, she was captivated by the relationship between human and ocean health. She now considers herself a social ecologist who investigates the connectedness between coastal communities and marine environments, particularly with a focus on fisheries. To embrace the complexity of fishery systems, Allison draws on interdisciplinary approaches from conservation biology, environmental economics, and human-centered design.
Prior to joining IRES, Allison lived in five coastal communities around the world, worked alongside commercial fishers as an observer, interned at the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions to research the implementation of rights-based governance, and served as a field ecologist for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She received a Bachelor of Science in ecology and a minor in sociology from Seattle Pacific University. She has been a grantee of The Explorers Club, UBC Ocean Leaders, National Geographic Society, and the National Science Foundation.
Allison’s thesis centers on the sustainability of small-scale fisheries and the tradeoffs between conservation and livelihoods, drawing on a case study from the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. This work stems directly from voiced concerns of Nicaraguan fishers regarding sea turtle bycatch. In response, she partnered with fishers of a coastal community, called El Astillero, and a local non-governmental organization, called Casa Congo, to conduct research and fill knowledge gaps on turtle bycatch, fish catch, and the governance that influences both. This project is supported by a 2019 National Geographic Early Career Explorer grant and Casa Congo.
Allison served as the coordinator of the book project, titled Infinity Fish, authored by Dr. Rashid Sumaila, and published by Elsevier in October 2021. The content centers on marine ecosystem valuation and understanding costs and benefits of fishery management systems. It explains Rashid’s novel economic approach to ensure future generations have access to natural resources for food and livelihood security, known as “intergenerational discounting.”