In May 2011 we had our first meeting in Steigen, bringing together scientists from the Institute for Marine Research (IMR) and local fishers to discuss how best to estimate the abundance and distribution of coastal cod, and how to draw on both fishers experience based knowledge and science.
More about the meeting and its conclusions, including an exploration of “the roles of fishers’ experience based knowledge and science” can be found here.
Then, after several months of preparation, discussions, fieldtrips and struggling with equipment we began collecting data in April 2012.
We are currently working with two fishers, chosen by the fishermen themselves to represent local fishers organisations. The two participating fishermen have had echo-sounding gear fitted to their boats, so that we can echo-locate cod and distinguish between the two closely related species: north-east arctic cod and coastal cod. After each session of field work, we inform the fishers about the project’s results so far.
We are also collecting data through interviews with the fishermen, using maps to help us as we work together.
The main difference we’ve found between fishers and scientists’ approaches to the work is that whereas fishers look for short term efficiency, scientists look for long term certainty.