Symposium Abstract: Development of a West Coast Cooperative Research Program, Working Together toward Better Information
The Pacific Marine Conservation Council (PMCC) is presently working with federal and state agencies, scientists and fishermen to develop a West Coast Groundfish Cooperative Research Program. This program will provide a clearinghouse for ongoing cooperative research projects. It will also house the primary source of information on research priorities, funding and contacts for interested scientists and fishermen. The need for systematically combining the expertise of fishermen with the scientific rigor of researchers has clearly emerged in the evolution of our Rockfish Rebuilding Campaign, launched in 2001. Cooperative research programs provide a unique opportunity for those interested in fisheries to collectively resolve complex issues. Through collaboration, federal agencies and fisheries managers benefit from the experience, equipment, and insights of fishermen, while fishermen participate in designing and conducting the research to gather data for superior management of the resource. PMCC strongly believes that sustainable fisheries depend upon implementing standardized methods of collecting, analyzing and applying the ‘experiential’ data of fishermen to fisheries science. Cooperative research also has the potential to improve communication and trust while elevating the level of scientific understanding.