Martin Pastoors, Chief Science Officer at Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA) and member of WGSPF, gave a plenary talk on sustainable, collaborative approaches between the fishing industry and fisheries science and how that can benefit both industry and science. Collaboration between the fishing industry and fisheries science has a long history but towards the end of the last century, Pastoors describes the relationship as becoming more of a one-way street: information flowing from the fishing industry to fisheries science with limited feedback. Since the 2000s, this tendency seems to be reversing back to the collaborative model. In his talk, Pastoors addressed the conditions and requirements for sustainable, collaborative processes to occur. He showed that effective feedback and engagement strategies are essential for lasting cooperation while approaches to research and expectations for outcomes are important to address.
Several examples were shown where fishing industries have substantially invested in the development of scientific capacity, thereby becoming a valued and knowledgeable partner for science. When working effectively between industry and science, Pastoor notes that many new developments suddenly become feasible, "like the extension of the international triennial mackerel egg survey that was held in 2022 and two dedicated trips that were held to collect gonad samples of mackerel during commercial fishing trips. Or, how self-sampling approaches are able to generate real-time information to ICES expert groups on the developments on the fishing grounds during the year when the assessments are carried out".
Pastoors believes there is great potential to further improve the collaboration between the fishing industry and fisheries science. The key lesson is to acknowledge both the information from industry to science and at the same time the information from science to industry.
The International Symposium on “Small PelagicFish: New Frontiers in Science for Sustainable Management” continues until Friday 11 November in Lisbon.