Jefferson Murua’s Blog: Social Science Workshop, Day 1

On the 7th & 8th of February, 2013, the GAP2 project is running 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

Dr. Jefferson Murua, a scientist involved in the case study investigating French and Spanish Tuna FAD fisheries, gives an insight into the workshop here:

“On the 7th and 8th of February scientists (mainly marine biologists) involved in the GAP2 fisheries case studies attended a Social Sciences Workshop in Chioggia (Italy) which was facilitated by ISPRA and delivered by Marloes Kraan and Mark Dubois.

The workshop was an opportunity for fisheries natural scientists to learn about social science methods to gain knowledge on processes and contents, and interact better with fishers and other stakeholders including managers and politicians. Themes like interview methodology, mapping of areas with fishers, participatory observation techniques or Fishers Ecological Knowledge (FEK) were covered during the two days. Scientists from all over Europe took part in this participatory meeting acquiring many new skills to help them bridge the gap between the different stakeholders and facilitate the final goal of achieving more sustainable fisheries with the help of all the actors.

Jefferson Murua at the Social Science workshop
© Tomaso Fortibuon

The workshop was very practical (which is the best way for learning!) with multiple exercises to put into action these newly acquired methods. Interviews were conducted, observation methods were put into real life when visiting the local Chioggia fish market, activities thinking on how our science can translate in the political arena were executed, and mapping considerations to better understand the fishery were talked about.

We hope all these new methods we have learned will help conduct more complete studies that take into account the social aspects of the fishery. As the saying goes “it is not the fish that need managing but the people that make up the fishery”.

The value of social considerations such as the background of the stakeholders, interests, views and perceptions are all key elements that influence how people interact with each other. Taking all of these social elements into account is crucial, and as important as backing management plans with good biological research, if we are to reach successful objectives in our European fisheries.”

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