As the project powers through its final year, the whole GAP2 team came together in Rome recently for the final annual meeting. Comms Officer Katrina Borrow provides a round-up of two packed days.
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Rome, sweet Rome!
Between 22nd and the 25th of June, Rome saw an influx of participatory research scientists and other fisheries collaboration fans – including a good group of GAP2 fishers. With nine months to go until the end of GAP2, there was a huge amount to discuss at the 2014 annual meeting, and lots to learn about the great, diverse work done since the 2013 meeting.
Catching up on case studies
Top of the catch-up agenda were the 13 participatory research case studies run by GAP2, each one well represented at the meeting. We were all keen to discuss what hurdles GAP2 participatory research has been facing in different countries across the EU, and where real progress is being made in bridging the GAP between fishers, the science community, and policy-makers.
It was agreed that, as research continues in many different fisheries, the nature of GAPs often changes, and new GAPs can appear, whilst older GAPs may be resolved. Trust between fishers and scientists is a real strong point of the project, and this was commented on across the board from the 13 case studies.
Where GAPs remain, in terms of knowledge and relationship-building, is often at the management level: where the policy ‘system’ often seems to stymy attempts to inject participatory research results into management measures, or at the very least, the system is seen as mysterious and inaccessible. This has new implications for the fisher-science relationship, which is often, naturally, built on a mutual expectation of direct benefits for collaborative activities and data collection. This means bridging to GAP from fishers and scientists to the policy community has become even more vital for GAP2 in the final year of work.
Alongside case study catch-ups, we also heard detailed presentations from our work-package leaders on the over-arching themes of GAP2’s work, and how we’re getting on to meet our various targets for the European Commission. One thing’s for sure: we’re a busy bunch at GAP2!
With so many of GAP2’s international team in one place, the annual meeting was also an excellent time to consider what’s left to achieve for the project, and what exciting activities we can squeeze into the next nine months.
With plans to hold an innovative, collaborative international symposium to mark the end of the project next March, this was the perfect opportunity to talk audience, structure, location and logistics. As to what was decided….you’ll have to wait and see!
The GAP2 Comms team will be working hard to spread the word about all this collaborative activity over the next nine months, and bring you as much information as possible on what’s going on, and what’s coming up.
Key to look out for over the coming months will be the next round of GAP2-funded exchange trips. We’ve got a real variety of organisations and projects taking part, travelling to some stunning locations to carry out further research to benefit their local or national fisheries practices. There will be blogs, photos and videos coming up, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, if you want to know more about what we do and why at GAP2, now is the perfect time to take a look at #GAP2TheMovie.