Dr. Bonnie J. McCay
Distinguished Professor Emerita, Rutgers University
Stockton, New Jersey
Dr. Bonnie J. McCay is a human ecologist whose work focuses on marine fisheries as “the commons.” She earned her B.A. at Portland State University in Oregon and her Ph.D. at Columbia University in New York. She recently retired from Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, where she was the Board of Governors Distinguished Professor at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. She now divides her time between her residences in the USA and Canada.
An anthropologist by training, her practice spans cultural studies, fisheries biology and marine ecology, economics, and political economy. Managing how we use oceans and their resources is her main interest, leading to studies of community-based and participatory management of fisheries as well as the unfolding social and ecological dynamics of different types of management, such as privatization, protected areas, and eco-certification, in the context of rapid environmental and socio-political change. She has done field research in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada, in the Middle Atlantic region of the U.S., and in Baja California, Mexico, and she collaborates with scholars in Scandinavia and the UK. Her books include The Question of the Commons, Oyster Wars and the Public Trust, and Enclosing the Commonsand she has over 150 publications in scientific journals.
Dr. McCay is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Anthropological Association, and the American Fisheries Society. Among her honors and awards are the Award of Excellence from the American Fisheries Society; the Norwegian Marshall Fund Award for Research in Marine Conservation; and the Ostrom Award on Collective Governance of the Commons.
She is also active in science policy. She has served on numerous study committees for the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. McCay also serves on editorial boards, including PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) and on the Board of Directors of the Hudson River Foundation; until recently she also served on the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and the International Board of the Stockholm Resilience Center.