Read on for an update on how GAP2’s Norwegian case study has progressed over the last twelve months.
In Norway, the coastal cod as a management object is controversial and causes heated discussions between scientists and fishers. Genetic studies show that there are separate stocks with local characteristics even within relatively small geographical areas. In this case study we planned to contribute to developing a local, fisheries-based monitoring system for the coastal cod. However, we did not aim to have a direct influence on management, as this would be unrealistic given the strict formal framework that is in place.
In any case, it will take some time before our result can challenge central management. We don’t know if we will be able to keep up the procedures when GAP2 finishes, due to the high cost of running the sampling program. However, the strong involvement of the scientific partners (Institute of Marine Research – IMR) and the increasing interest of management authorities in the coastal cod are positive signs. In summary, the project is progressing as planned and we have successfully established a strong alliance with both IMR and the local fishers.
In fact, we have worked with fishermen to get more funding from the Nordland County to install another echo-sounder. Notably, the skipper advanced the money for the echo-sounder, which shows his commitment to the project. We consider the involvement of fishers to be our main progress. Furthermore, we have also now divided up responsibilities and IMR is currently leading data collection.
While we have plans of developing an ‘experience-based centre’ in Steigen, it has been difficult to get the extra funding needed. Such a centre would strengthen the links between fishers experience-based knowledge and scientific knowledge.
We believe it is now time to get the procedures in the case study documented and publish the results. In that sense, in the coming months we are now planning on writing at least one paper combining a description of the methodology of the involvement of the fishers and presentation of scientific data, as we believe data, at this stage, cannot stand alone in a paper.