Giles Bartlett’s Blog: Reflections on Chioggia (7-8th Feb 2013)

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On the 7th & 8th of February, 2013, the GAP2 project ran a two-day workshop in Chioggia (Venice), Italy to enhance GAP2 scientists’ knowledge in methods used in social science research. You can read about the workshop here.

Giles Bartlett a Fishery Policy Officer at the WWF involved in Work Package 1 of the GAP2 project, reflects on the social science workshop:

Day 1

“I arrived into Chioggia on the evening of the 6th February as a newbie to the GAP2 project having recently picked up the WWF mantle. It was dark and cold and my first impression was that it was similar to Cleethorpes in the UK, with a fun fair on the beach and the usual beach side vendors (which were closed). The first gathering of the group was at 8pm where we met in the Hotel Tegnue lobby before departing to a nearby restaurant. When I arrived in the lobby I was greeted by Kari Stange, Martin Pastoors and Otello Giovanardi and we chatted about who we were and what our involvement in GAP was. We had a great meal in the restaurant (mainly seafood) and the fishy talk continued. The next day the real work was to start…

The first session of Day 1 started promptly at 9am in the dance hall/conference area of the hotel. An hour long icebreaker session really helped us to get to know each other well before we started getting into the nitty gritty of social science. The two facilitators to the workshop – Marloes Kraan and Mark Dubois were excellent in guiding us through different aspects of social science. My interest in this aspect of fisheries management has increased significantly following the results of project 50% in the UK – and I was keen to learn more about the methods and its application. The first exercise of the day was to watch a video of an interview between Maiken Bjorkan and her colleague Jan Petter. Jan Petter explained that the differences between the natural science and social science approaches to participatory research: where natural scientists tend to focus on extracting data and information from fishers, social scientists will focus on the joint construction of information and as a learning process. The group then had a discussion about techniques and structures to use when interviewing. My experience of interviews comes from my time as a fishery officer – where the objectives and style is slightly different!

After the lunch break we asked to make an interview guide, the task was to interview a person who we didn’t previously know, using the scheme that we prepared. I acted as an observer to Sasa Raicevich and Igor Sancristobal. My job was to note body language, atmosphere and behaviours of the people involved. I was interested to hear what Igor had to say about his work on tropical tuna fisheries as these fisheries are a global priority for WWF.”

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Day 2

“On the second day the groups were divided into 5 groups, who had to go into the field and implement what we had learned by asking stakeholders about eco-labelling. Our group, led by a local, Otello, went to the public fish market where there were around 50 traders operating under a covered market. There was a wide range of fish on show, including local staples such as octopus, cuttlefish, red mullet and Dover sole. Otello said that around 50% of the products were either imported or were produced by aquaculture e.g. bass, bream. Otello talked to the vendors while I looked at the produce. I was really impressed with the labelling as the majority of stalls showing the name, latin name, where the product came from and if it was wild caught or farmed. I have never seen such information in comparable markets in the UK. On returning to the workshop we fed back on our results and generally the knowledge and significance on eco-labelling was low, which was disappointing. Overall the groups found the techniques learned during the workshop useful and it helped them with the exercise.

The whole workshop was really useful for me, particularly in getting a handle on what GAP2 is all about. I learned a lot about the methods used, Marloes and Mark did a great job in keeping the tempo and the workshop right and were good at including all the participants – not easy with so many different cultures present. I met many people from different backgrounds who are working on fisheries all across Europe and beyond. I’m now really looking forward to engaging with the project for the next 2 years. Ciao.”

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