Last week, fishermen from Norway spent three days visiting the UK to better understand how the Devon crab fishery is managed.
Facilitated by the GAP2 project, cod-fishermen from Norway were hosted by crabbers and scientists working from Dartmouth, in the first stage of an ongoing exchange programme.
Jan Andersen, a Norwegian fisher taking part in the exchange said
“We were positively surprised how openly and warmly we were received. [The south coast] did appear to be a very exposed coast, worked by very skilled and tough fishermen”.
The purpose of this trip was for UK and Norwegian fishermen to exchange ideas on how to manage their fisheries sustainably; in particular a sustainable crab fishery as the Norwegians are interested in further developing their own fledgling crab fishery.
To understand the dynamics of the fishery fully, the Norwegians were taken to sea, visited the Blue Sea Food Company’s crab processing factory and spent a morning at the Brixham fish market. Unfortunately, their time at sea was limited due to gale force 9 winds, but Brixham fish market proved particularly interesting as fish markets don’t exist in the same way in Norway – instead, fishers sell directly to wholesalers. Norwegian fishermen Gunnar Larsen commented “I was really impressed with the size of the market, and that it was so clean and tidy”.
Fishers also exchanged views on the different ways they work with scientists, and both scientists and fishers spent time talking to anthropologist Mark Dubois about what they felt was necessary for successful collaboration. “Mutual trust” and “good communication, particularly of results” featured prominently as requirements for such groups to work together.
The success of the exchange programme was evident in Norway’s offer to reciprocate the hospitality they were shown, and indeed three UK crabbers have already signed themselves up for the return trip to Norway early next year. Stay tuned!