ICES Annual Science Conference 2015

Theme Session L

Science-industry partnerships: The value of cooperative research in fisheries and marine management

Clara Ulrich (Denmark)
John Manderson (USA)
Mike Fitzpatrick (Ireland)
Richard Robins (USA)

​​​​​​​Contact conveners​

The fisheries and ocean management arena is becoming ever more complex with the inclusion of broader objectives, more stringent legislative targets, and increased competition for marine space. Under these circumstances, bringing together the experiential knowledge of fishers and the analytical knowledge of scientists through dedicated science-industry partnerships is very valuable.

Alliances are forming between agency, industry, and management experts to improve the efficiency and utility of data collection, frame joint research hypotheses, and carry out pilot implementation trials. 

Cooperative research can be particularly useful in a number of key areas: 

  1. Reductions in discards and the impact of bottom fisheries. These are amongst the most pressing fisheries specific issues to address. While past research on these issues has been focused mainly on technical solutions, such as gear selectivity, it is likely that a more integrated approach covering economic, social, and regulatory drivers of fishers’ behaviour and allied with technical improvements will be required for successful implementation of new legislative frameworks.  Creative solutions are needed from all participants and hence pilot trials are likely to be significant.  However, while the objectives are often similar across trials, their actual implementation and use seem to differ widely.

  2. Improvements in the accuracy of stock and ecosystem assessments. Fishers operate daily at the fine space-time scales at which biotic and abiotic environmental features affect distributions, abundances, and interactions of species. Scientists, on the other hand, have an understanding of the emergent properties of populations and ecosystems that can be gleaned from analysis of regional sea scale surveys over long periods. Integration of these knowledge bases is particularly important during periods of rapid environmental change when nuanced population and ecosystem models integrating “ecosystem effects” are required for accurate assessment and prediction.

  3. Marine Spatial Planning. With calls for integrated marine management, fisheries scientists and the fishing industry are being challenged to identify critical areas and habitats. For example, in much of the ICES area, large-scale wind power lease areas have been largely defined by their potential for high-energy generation but often with relatively little input from the fishing industry. Scientists and industry interests have been pooling knowledge in order to address such shortcomings.
We aim to provide a broad overview on such fisheries-science partnerships, with a generic emphasis on their methodological challenges and their added value. We welcome the submission of papers on the following topics:
  • ​Recent case study experiences in cooperative research addressing:
    • Strategies for discard reduction/avoidance and for mitigating the benthic impacts of fisheries
    • Enhancements to stock and ecosystem assessments
    • Identification of species-specific habitat preferences 
    • Characterization of benthic and pelagic habitats
    • Overarching relationships between ecological, economic and regulatory drivers of change
    • Resolution of multiple-use conflicts in spatial planning
  • Methodologies regarding sea trials design, extent, monitoring and standardization
  • Conditions and structures that incentivize industry innovation and participation. For example, are the most creative solutions found when the stakes become critically high? Do industry attitudes towards the policy influence their desire to participate?
  • Challenges to cooperative research and how these have been addressed.
  • Can input from experts in other areas, such as change management or behavioural economics, improve the design of and output from co-operative research?
  • Options for wider use of commercial surveys for ecosystem observation and monitoring
  • Emerging needs for cooperative research  
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Theme Session L

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