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.