As part of the GAP2 exchange program, scientist Pablo Pita Orduna travelled to Australia in 2013 to shadow ‘Barefoot Ecologist’ Dr Jeremy Prince. You can read his blog on his experiences here
This year, Dr Prince has come to Galicia on a return exchange, and taught a three-day workshop on his Barefoot Ecologist Toolbox, in which participants could use a new tool for self-monitoring of stocks. Pablo Pita blogs about hosting the workshop below.
International exchange of ideas
In January, 2013 I travelled to Australia to learn first-hand a new fisheries management tool developed by Jeremy Prince and Adrian Hordyk. I came back with many stories in my luggage, two new friends, and with the firm intention that my travel would not stay as an anecdotal visit.
Fortunately, the GAP2 management group immediately shared my enthusiasm for the work of Jeremy and Adrian. They proposed inviting Jeremy to organize a workshop on the use of their tool at the second international symposium on Fishery Dependent Information (FDI), which was held between 3 and 6 March, 2014, in Rome.
Taking advantage of the long journey from Australia, I suggested Jeremy and Adrian that they could also travel to Galicia for a couple of weeks, and as part of their visit, we could organize an event: a ‘Technical conference of GAP2 project on new fisheries management tools: building bridges between government, fishermen and scientists’. Maybe Jeremy was thinking of the excellent Galician seafood and Albariño wine, but the important thing is that they accepted.
Hosting a workshop in Galicia
The Conference (11-13 March, 2014) was opened by Sergio López, Secretary of the Galician Federation of Fishermen Associations, by José Molares, Deputy Director for Research and Scientific- Technical Support of the Autonomous Government of Galicia, and myself, and consisted of an inaugural lecture given by Jeremy, sponsored by the Campus do Mar (available online at: http://tv.campusdomar.es/en/video/2879.html) and a 2-day-workshop on the use of their fisheries management tool.
It has been two weeks of intense work, flavoured with some unique and essential visits, like a trip we took to the roof of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, or the Sanctuary of San Andrés de Teixido (just in case, because in Galicia we say that if you don’t visit San Andrés alive, you will go when dead). But I think the effort has been worthwhile.
The inaugural conference was attended by about 30 people in the Auditorium of the Faculty of Science, University of A Coruña, and online by another 80 people scattered across many countries of the globe. The workshop, which reached its full capacity, was attended by several Technical Assistants (our barefoot ecologists), biologists of the regional fisheries government and scientists from several countries. In short, the quintessence of GAP2 project.
Reactions from our guests
Some of the participants want to share their thoughts on the workshop with us:
“I loved the workshop. And I think it will be very useful in our technical assistance work in the fishermen’s associations and especially, once the models are properly adjusted for each species / area, so they can be used by the industry itself, or at least by the most involved, will greatly contribute to the self-management.”
Marta Minhambres. Technical Assistance of the Fishers Association of Baiona.
“The workshop was very interesting, despite my limited English. I also believe that, as a guide for the management, the information we reached by applying the tool was very useful. I hope that (…) the Administration now push their technicians and fishers associations to find the information needed to work with this tool.”
Eduardo Pérez. Technical Assistance of the Fishers Association of Moaña.
“The tool is for the assessment and management of exploited marine populations and is easy to implement and has low data requirements, making it particularly suitable for the management of local fisheries. It could be applied by all the workshop participants: scientists, managers and representatives of fishers associations. The application of the model to real data allowed us to determine the status of some stocks and to those stocks with alternative previous assessments, to validate the results. An important point was the offering by the developers of the model to assist in the implementation of this model with the participants of the workshop.”
Paz Sampedro. Senior Researcher in the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO).
“I was very surprised by the availability and accessibility of researchers and of the course content. Also, of the methodology used for its “apparent” simplicity. This tool directs research efforts in the same direction: to obtain 4 biological parameters more or less clear. Can be a turning point for the barefoot ecologists.”
Liliana Mª Solis. Technical Assistance of the Fishers Association of Noia.
“I found the workshop extremely positive and opens a door to perform a simple evaluation to multiple fisheries in Galicia. While because the number of people in the workshop, the non-availability of the program to the public, our inexperience and lack of a manual so everyone can keep trying with their fisheries, could cause the workshop remain as a mere anecdote.”
Gonzalo Macho. Researcher in the Universities of Vigo and South Carolina (USA).