Maiken Bjorkan’s blog: Long Term Management Plan

From November 2013 until March 2014, Maiken, a social anthropologist based in Norway, will be living and working in Spain. Working with fishermen and scientists involved in the Red Shrimp case study, Maiken will be studying how management plans are implemented from a “people perspective”. You can read all her blog posts here.

First official LTMP (Long Term Management Plan) meeting with all stakeholders!

What is wonderful is that I was allowed to observe at the meeting (note for those interested in anthropological fieldwork and participatory observation: this is at the far end of the observer scale, as I had no role, made no comments and only observed at the meeting). What was less wonderful was that they spoke Catalan, which I only understand fragments of!

Observing and learning

Still, it was useful to watch the interaction between the stakeholders, including two fishers from the Cofradia (Conrad, and the president, Francesc Benaiges), two from CSIC-ICM (Joan B Company and Francesc Sarsa), as well as five people not part of GAP2 but still important for the LTMP: two from WWF and two from local government. In addition, Joan L. Alegret, a social scientist from the University of Girona was there (note: find out his relation to the cooperative and role in LTMP).

While I missed out on most of the discussion, there were still things that I understood. I even learnt a new verb, since it was repeated a lot: “fem”. It means: “to do”. I think it is a very good sign that they are all eager to get things started!

This is a short version of the management plan here and you can find a longer version here.

Social situations: Before and after the meeting

While the meeting itself was the main event, it is always important for an anthropologist to remember to take notes and reflect on all social situations, i.e: before the meeting, coffee breaks and after the meeting. For this meeting, I was lucky enough to get a ride to Palamós with one of the CSIC-ICM scientists, and we talking about issues such as Cataluna vs. Spain and the LTMP. Returning to Barcelona I got a ride with two government representatives, and I learnt quite a lot about the Mediterranean management and Palamós as a fishing community compared to other fishing communities. In addition, they were all very friendly and willing to let me interview them (note: schedule interviews. They prefer after Christmas).

While such social situations can be even more useful than the actual event, it is important to remember the ethical side of using information from these conversations. While I, the observer, define the car ride as part of the fieldwork, the scientists/managers, the observed, may not. For them, the information they give me can be considered as private and not something to be used as part of my material. While I won’t use the information they give me as such, it provides me with important knowledge that I can use to ask informed questions in interviews, where we are all on the same page about how the data will be used.

That’s all for now folks, thanks for reading!






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