Nauen, C.E., Christensen, V., Failler, P., Opitz, S. and Thatje, S.
Recovering fisheries from crisis or collapse: how to shorten impact time of international research cooperation.
Shriver, A.L. (ed.)
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 11-14, 2006, Portsmouth, UK: Rebuilding Fisheries in an Uncertain Environment.
Corvallis OR, USA,
International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade .
ICES – the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea – was founded more than a century ago out of concern for overfishing. However, today’s global marine ecosystems are for the most part in a degraded state, many alarmingly so. Why is the science used so little to make decisions compatible with long-term sustainability of fisheries?
The paper argues that there is a large gap between the understanding of scientists and that of political and economic decision makers. Scientists investigate the fundamentals of nature and socio-economic systems. These approaches do not coincide with the perceptions, belief systems and experiences of most social actors, except in the long run. Communicating scientific results better and more pervasively to citizens is an avenue that holds great potential to shorten impact times – provided there is willingness to hear the message.
Since the media brought the overfishing message to the general public in the early 1990s, the international discourse has gradually shifted. From ‘maximum sustainable yield’ (MSY) of single species, the discourse started to put restoration of entire marine ecosystems by 2015 formally on the agenda through the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation adopted at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. But results are few and far between as fleet overcapacity driving the process shows little sign of alleviation.
It is desirable that international scientific cooperation engages more constructively with citizens, civil society movements, companies and government authorities to speed up adaptive learning. While not replacing political processes, research and research communication that are aware of the different mindsets, cultures and historically grown preferences in societies can help more effectively to bring about the conditions for recovery of lost ecosystem functions and productivity. Trust is a key condition for acceptance of the message. A few examples of the EC’s international S&T cooperation projects are given to explore opportunities and challenges to recover fisheries in crisis.
Actions (login required)