ICES Annual Science Conference 2022

Theme session K

Integration of fisher experiential knowledge (FEXK) into marine science and management

Wednesday 21 September 13:30 - 15:00
Vavasour wing II

​​In this interactive session, we will explore experiences and best practices for integrating fisher experiential knowledge (FEXK) integration into marine science. Robert L. Stephenson (Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans) will set the scene, clarifying the difference between using fishers as data points and utilizing their experiential knowledge, in a 'flash keynote'. 

We will then proceed to five plenary themed discussion sessions, organized around the following topics: 

  1. Wealth and depth of knowledge of FEKX
  2. Experiences with integrating FEXK
  3. Organising fishers' involvement
  4. Methodologies for FEXK
  5. Lessons learnt

Each session will involve different presenters (papers and posters) who will share their experiences in a talk show set up. The audience is invited to submit questions via the conference app and participate in discussions during the sessions. ​​​

​About the theme

Fisher experiential knowledge (FEXK) integration into marine science is becoming more important as part of discussions on management strategy evaluations, fisher behaviour and Integrated Ecosystem Assessments. Best practices for FEXK will be promoted and innovative approaches will be shared via presentations and posters in an interactive setup.

There is increasing support in the established scientific advisory frameworks for the integration of data and information provided by the fishing industry. The focus of discussions and integration attempts tends to lie on ‘hard’ observational data from industry. Despite studies showing that fishers’ experiential knowledge (FEXK) can greatly support the success of management decision making, FEKX is often considered to be anecdotal or not quantifiable, and hence unusable. Also, where the value of FEXK is increasingly recognized, traditional scientific processes are often not equipped to deal with experiential information.

Fishers, whose lives are continually associated with marine environments, acquire substantial amounts of information on these ecosystems, including experience of fish behaviour, habitat preferences and weather and climate impacts on catches. Furthermore, fishers have unique information associated with economic, social and behavioural responses to management and policy. As such the use of FEXK is becoming an important part of discussions on management strategy evaluations, ocean governance, fisher behaviour and Integrated Environmental and Social Impact Assessments. Co-design processes, using FEXK, are also increasingly being used in the marine science community to help meet numerous objectives from designing data collection tools for use by industry to forming management plans.

In this session, we invite presentations that share experiences of how FEXK has been incorporated into scientific research in support of fisheries or ecosystem management. These examples can come from a wide variety of scales: from community-based projects to international management plans. We are interested not only in the processes used for recording this knowledge but also how knowledge was applied to help answer research questions or influence decision making processes. 

We are especially interested in studies that have overcome three main issues: the integration of qualitative and quantitative research, lack of ability to integrate into current scientific advisory processes, and perception timescales.
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Nathalie Steins (the Netherlands)
Talya ten Brink (USA)
Julia Calderwood (Ireland)

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Theme session K

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
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