Petter Holm and Maiken Bjørkan spoke to Steven Mackinson about their work developing a fisheries-based monitoring system for Norway’s coastal cod. Below they give an update of the progress of the case study.
“In summary – the progress has been much more than could have been hoped for!”
“Firstly, efforts to collect data in the Steigen region are particularly valuable because Stegien will be one of the areas used for defining the “reference fleet” – a small group of Norwegian fishing vessels that are contracted to provide IMR with detailed information about their fishing activity and catches on a regular basis. (See more info here).
Plans are also emerging to establish a “Centre for Experienced Based-Knowledge” – owned and run locally by fishers. Fishers are able to take pride in a community project such as this and can enjoy engaging with researchers in this context. This process is perhaps simpler in Steigen than it would be elsewhere, because they already have a coastal management plan in place. This means that maps of zoning to avoid spatial conflicts with resource users have already been agreed upon.
“In March, we met with all the case study participants, including the fishermen involved and researchers from the University of Tromso and the IMR.
The University of Tromso’ role is in brokering collaboration, establishing communication and maintaining momentum and interest, while the technical work is being done by the fishers and IMR.
Currently, only one fisherman is involved in the collection of acoustic data because it’s expensive. While there is good progress being made with this fisher, we are developing plans with the Steigen Fisherman’s Association to expand collaboration further.
We are also working towards combing technical data from the acoustic studies with fishermen’s local ecological knowledge, expressed as ‘stories’. It’s this ‘material’ that will form the basis for publications.
Finally, at the beginning of April, we held the exchange with the Devon Crab fishers.”
Issues & Resolutions
“We were lacking a good working agreement with the fishers. Researchers wanted to collect data from Steigen, but the cod quota was so high that the fishers needed to fish in Lofoten to be able to catch their quota. However, this has now been resolved and from April, the fishers will be able to collect data for use by the project.
The fishers have to be paid the going rate which is laid down elsewhere, so their participation is costly, but fair.
We have started working toward giving the fishers feedback on the results from acoustic work – but more effort needs to be put in here.”