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Paul Foley

Faculty and Staff

Dr. Paul Foley, B.A. (Hons) (First Class) (Memorial University), M.A. (Dalhousie University), Ph.D. (York University)




Phone: (709) 639-2771


Office: FC2018


  • International and comparative political economy
  • Political ecology
  • Development and environmental change (e.g. fisheries)
  • Environmental politics and policy
  • Market-oriented environmental policy and governance (e.g. eco-certification and eco-labeling)
  • Global environmental governance​​



I am a political economist with teaching and research interests in environmental governance and socio-economic development. I received my Ph.D. in political science from York University in 2012 after receiving an M.A. in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University in 2006. As a scholar, I am trained in the interdisciplinary fields of critical international political economy and development studies. My research goal is to create knowledge about relationships among environmental governance, sustainable development, and social justice at global and local levels. I serve as a member of the board of directors for the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, Food First NL (formerly the Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador), and the People and the Sea Film Festival.



I teach graduate courses such as Environmental Policy 6003 (Environmental Political Thought) and Environmental Policy 6052 (Political Economy, Political Ecology, and Policy) and undergraduate courses such as Political Science 4650 (Public Policy in Resource Dependent Economies) and Political Science 2600 (Introduction to Public Policy and Administration). I have supervised students at both undergraduate and graduate levels, with most of my supervision dedicated to students in the MA in Environmental Policy program. I am currently the Graduate Officer of the Masters of Arts in Environmental Policy program.



My research engages theoretical and empirical literatures from political economy and, more recently, political ecology to examine relationships between environmental governance, economic development, and social justice. I incorporate different disciplinary approaches and methodologies in my research, which has been funded by SSHRC and NSERC in collaborations with geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, biologists, a trade union, and community partners. My main research projects currently focus on the political economy of governance through transnational social and environmental certifications and the political ecology of resource access and development for marginalized communities and groups. The first project is concerned with questions such as why non-governmental, market-oriented eco-certification and eco-labeling programs have emerged and proliferated in the fisheries sector and how the programs interact with local producers and the ecologies upon which they depend. The second project is concerned with questions such as how can marginalized communities secure and maintain access to resource development benefits and what alternatives exist to the highly privatized neo-liberal policy approaches that have caused social displacement and dispossession, as well as ecological degradation, throughout the world. To date, the empirical focus of my research has been on fisheries and seafood sectors, with fieldwork experience taking place in a range of areas from indigenous communities of Nunatsiavut (northern Labrador) to industry and government boardrooms in Canada and Iceland. I welcome inquiries from students interested in these or similar themes in the fisheries sector, as well as other environmental and resource sectors such as agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas, environmental services.



Selected Publications

Foley, Paul and Charles Mather, 2016. 'Making space for community use rights: insights from "community economies" in Newfoundland and Labrador.' Society and Natural Resources, Vol. 29 (8): 965-980 (Open Access).


Foley, Paul and Elizabeth Havice, 2016. 'The rise of territorial eco-certification: New politics of transnational sustainability governance in the fisheries sector,' Geoforum, Vol. 69 (February): 24-33 (Open Access).


Foley, Paul, Charles Mather, and Barbara Neis, 2015. 'Governing enclosure for coastal communities: Social embeddedness in a Canadian shrimp fishery.' Marine Policy, Vol. 61 (November): 390-400. (Open Access & Part of special issue, 'Fishing Futures: Neoliberalism and the Alternatives for Small-Scale Fisheries in North America,' edited by Evelyn Pinkerton and Reade Davis.


Foley, Paul and Bonnie McCay, 2014. 'Certifying the Commons: Eco-Certification, Privatization and Collective Action.' Ecology and Society, Vol. 19(2): 28. Open Access & Part of special feature, 'Rebuilding Fisheries and Threatened Communities: the Social-Ecology of a Particularly Wicked Problem,' edited by Barbara Neis and Rosemary Ommer.


Foley, Paul and Karen Hébert, 2013. 'Alternative Regimes of Transnational Environmental Certification: Governance, Marketization, and Place in Alaska's Salmon Fisheries.' Environment and Planning A, Vol. 45 (11): 2734-2751.


Foley, Paul, 2013. 'National Government Responses to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Certification: Insights from Atlantic Canada.' New Political Economy, Vol. 18 (2): 284-307.


Foley, Paul, Charles Mather, and Barbara Neis, 2013. 'Fisheries Allocation Policies and Regional Development: Successes from the Newfoundland and Labrador Shrimp Fishery.' A policy report prepared for The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, Memorial University of Newfoundland. St. John's [available online at: 2011/11-12-ARF-Final-Mather.pdf], 42 p.


Foley, Paul, 2012. 'The Political Economy of Marine Stewardship Council Certification: Processors and Access in Newfoundland and Labrador's Inshore Shrimp Industry.' Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 12 (2&3): 436-57. Part of special double issue, 'The Political Economy and Ecology of Capture Fisheries,' edited by Liam Campling, Elizabeth Havice and Penny McCall Howard.

Chair, Environmental Studies

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4, Canada

Office: AS2021
Phone: (709) 639-6578