Lessons in Leadership: Integrating Courage, Vision, and Innovation for the Future of Sustainable Fisheries
Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in Fisheries
So-Jung Youn, Brooke E. Penaluna, and Sui Chian Phang
Leadership occurs at all levels. Everybody is, at least, a leader of themselves and has the ability to promote diversity through personal openness to new and different ideas, disciplines, and people. We can all affect diversity and inclusion through the selection of team members, openness to new ideas, and encouraging inclusion of different ideas and viewpoints.
Increasing inclusion is important for the fisheries community because the people who are becoming professionals, the disciplines they train in, and the organizations they are working with are becoming more diverse. The fisheries community must respond to this changing landscape of fishery professionals and the potential this diversity offers. Prudently, this diversity can help us achieve adaptive and diverse approaches needed to address wicked problems affecting fisheries (e.g. impacts of climate change on fisheries, sustainable and equitable governance of dynamic aquatic resources among diverse stakeholders with different objectives).
At the level of fishery professionals, inclusive leadership seeks to diversify the workforce with respect to training and background. Equally important is the need to encompass different professional philosophies that individuals and institutions may have, including, but not limited to, how they approach management, scientific, and disciplinary agendas. Thus, as the positive efforts for greater cultural and gender diversity have become established, those in leadership positions can also ensure that there is representation of disciplines and perspectives. Hiring committees and search processes could increase consideration of applicants from less traditional pathways or encourage the pursuit of less conventional research training pathways (e.g., interdisciplinary programs). One of Sui’s mentors once told him, “Only dead fish go with the flow,” which is not ecologically exact, but is a message that resonates well.