24 Months On: Progress Update from UK Brown Crabs case study

Professor Paul Hart of the University of Leicester provides an update of the progress of GAP2’s UK case study investigating the sustainability of brown crab stocks.

Field Activities

“Field activities finished once we had collected sufficient data to start the “modelling” stage of our work. Emma (Pearson) is now analysing data in order to map crab distribution and migration. From this, we will be able to develop a model to integrate crab movements and  catches.”

Collecting & Integrating Knowledge

“We are planning to conduct several interviews with fishermen to capture their knowledge of the brown crab population. So far we have carried out 3 interviews, and have 5 more planned. The questionnaire has been developed with the help of social scientist Mark Dubois, and focuses on the fishermen’s knowledge and their perception of the biology of the crabs stock.

In the future, we will discuss with the fishermen the outcomes of our work, both in the field and in developing the model describing crab movements. Together we will address how they can reconcile this information with their activity.”

Stakeholder Participation

“In general, stakeholder participation is working.

Working toward sustainability is an interesting topic for both fishermen and scientists and any tensions are dissolved through working together. There are 40 to 50 crab fishermen in the area; meetings where we discuss our work are attended by 10-15 men, and 8 boats were involved directly in data collection.

We attend the fishermen’s monthly meetings where we give and receive feedback from activities. For example, in January, Emma (Pearson) gave a brief talk presenting the data collected during field activities. In February, I presented on the science behind fisheries management. These meetings help maintain momentum and ease the flow of information about the case study between scientists and  stakeholders.

Moreover, some of the fishermen have been particularly involved in GAP2, through participating in the GAP2 Exchange.  The first part of the exchange program, involving Norwegian fishermen visiting the Devon crab fishery took place in October 2012. The return trip, taking crab fishermen from Devon back to Norway took place in early April. Emma Pearson, Rosie Magudia and myself attended also – the item was reported in the press and on the GAP2 blog.”

Other Issues

“Generally speaking, there aren’t any, but maintaining good collaboration and dialogue remains important.”

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