Special Collection: Sustainable Fisheries

Coastal Fisheries Success Factors

Policy & Planning

Embrace Complexity

Address Conflicting Aims

Recognise Context

Operate at Multiple Scales

Ensure Institutional Coherence

Ensure Sustainability

Adapt to Changes

Technical Implementation

Establish Rights & Responsibilities

Change Incrementally

Understand Institutional Fit

Incorporate Politics

Address Costs and Benefits

Get Market Measures Right

community engagement

Understand Dependency

Balance Livelihoods

Build Capacity

Engage Fishers

Address Compliance

Ensure Participation

Link Knowledge Systems


Link Knowledge Systems

A key element of participation and building commitment is recognizing the value of local ecological knowledge and experience-based knowledge of local fishers. All too often, fishers are regarded as ignorant and their traditional knowledge as inferior to that generated by more formal knowledge systems, which has often proved incorrect. There is a growing awareness of the value of these informal knowledge systems in fisheries management.

Even though knowledge is often considered that which is generated through formal science, fisher societies have both traditional knowledge that is transferred between generations with its roots in history, and experience-based knowledge which comes from working in the sector. Many fishers have profoundly detailed knowledge of their environment, the species of fish they target, changes in the waters they fish and its navigation, the seasons which influence their fishing and the techniques which preserve fish (see, for instance, von Brandt, 1972; Johannes, 1981; and Worsley, 1997 cited in Campbell and Salagrama, 2001).

In all aspects of knowledge management, a more collaborative approach is emerging as a key mechanism for shared understanding and decision-making in governance and policy processes more generally. The greater use of indigenous knowledge in fisheries management is a case in point. In fisheries research, participatory approaches to knowledge generation through all stages of the research cycle are becoming more prevalent (Campbell and Salagrama, 2001). While the incorporation of local knowledge into policy-making processes is becoming more common in fisheries management, as is sharing more formal sources of knowledge within communities in ways that can be understood and used.

Critical Questions

How is knowledge validated, valued and shared between different stakeholders in the fishery?

How can scientific and traditional knowledge management systems be brought more closely together?

In what ways can fishers be more actively involved in fisheries research, research analysis, validation and output dissemination?

How effectively is knowledge communicated and how does it influence decisions making at different levels?