Inderscience Publishers

Communities, knowledge and fisheries of the future

The 'human dimension' in fisheries management has historically been incorporated via a specific economic understanding of fisheries wedded to a single-species approach. Meeting the challenge of fisheries, however, will require a broadening of fisheries science towards an ecosystems-based approach. There is also the need for a parallel shift in social science understandings of fishing towards context and interrelationships amongst and between fishermen and fishing communities. While the move towards ecosystems is well underway, a corresponding movement in fisheries social science is less well established. The latter will require a commitment to new sources of data, methods and forms and scales of analysis. Promising initiatives that align with ecosystem-based approaches include the documentation and incorporation of Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK), cooperative research that bridges communicative and epistemological gaps between fishermen and scientists and community-level data collections and analyses emerging from legislative mandates and community-based advocacy. These examples suggest a reorientation of fisheries social science in step with ecosystem approaches.

Keywords: fishing communities, fisheries management, fisheries policy, local ecological knowledge, LEK, cooperative research, ecosystems based management, social practice of fishing, fisheries social science, human dimensions, fish stocks

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