Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Pulling together: How researchers involved all sides in the battle over fishing


Tensions between fishing communities and marine scientists over research into fisheries conservation have been overcome in a unique project sponsored by the ESRC in the islands of the Orkney archipelago.

The study was led by Professor Jonathan Side of the Heriot Watt University’s Orkney- based International Centre for Island Technology, and focussed on an inshore creel fishery for lobsters and crabs. It brought unprecedented participation from all sides of the debate while investigating a notoriously contentious issue for those who fish for a living and those who manage stocks.

Professor Side said: "There are several examples of fisheries scientists working with fishermen, but these often amount to little more than taking part in sampling exercises. "We set out to investigate alternative forms of scientific enquiry which would involve all parties concerned. "Fishermen were asked to take the driving seat in identifying future research in their fishery."

Meetings organised by the research team successfully drew out questions, issues and problems for inclusion in a questionnaire. However, low attendance and dominance by strong individuals gave misleading impressions of priorities and attitudes, says the report. It was also noticeable that meetings on the outer parts of the Orkney archipelago were better attended than those on the main island.

Questionnaires were distributed to all 150 registered fishing vessel owners in the islands and, with careful canvassing and personal contact, more than 50 per cent of the 100 creel fishermen responded. They were asked about their research priorities, willingness to participate in research, and their attitudes to general science and - separately - to fisheries science. Of 52 questionnaires returned, 47 indicated that they wanted the identified research to go ahead and 41 said that they were willing to participate in it.

The study found that people who fished were generally more negative in their view about fisheries science than about science in general, and they were most sceptical about fish stock calculations and predictions. Attitudes to science and research were however much more positive than the views expressed by the few who attended the meetings – in questionnaire responses most were neutral or slightly negative.

Thirty possible research topics were identified and organised under four themes - lobsters, crabs, economic development and environment, and four groups scoring separate programmes of research priorities were identified.

Most agreement across all groups was for research related to lobster stock enhancement and associated compensation – including hatcheries and protection for females carrying eggs.

Separate questionnaires went to 18 non-fishing organisations with an interest in the uses of coastal waters including government, commerce and environmental NGOs, and 13 responded. Significantly, they expressed a strongly positive view of their belief and trust in science.

Innovative means to display results were researched including use of easily understood colour charts and posters with information presented at an exhibition, displays in local communities, at meetings and through newspapers and local radio.

Support for a future research programme and willingness to participate was evident among the fishing community. However, lack of representation and organisation to enable a united voice, limited free time to attend meetings, and a deep-seated scepticism of the scientific community prevented them taking a leadership role.

Professor Side said: "It is noticeable that the co-operative agreement reached during our study on research priorities stands in stark contrast to the recent history of conflicts among fishermen during attempts to impose changes.

"Despite fragmentation of the fishing community and its lack of organisational capacity, it is possible to achieve widespread participation."

Becky Gammon | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>