Partnerships for a Common Purpose: Cooperative Fisheries Research and Management

Management and Scientific Impacts of Cooperative Research in the Northeast: A Cultural Fusion and Emergence of Cultural Translators

John Williamson

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569858.ch11

There has always been an element of cooperative research and management in the northeast; however, in the 1990s, we have seen an order of magnitude increase in collaborative research endeavors. As a direct effect, this has allowed greater reliance on cooperative management strategies as well. Therefore, we have seen two results from cooperative research and management that represent overarching change: an expansion of the entire data set for managing fisheries, and a fusion of cultures with the emergence of cultural translators in each of the three communities (science, management, and fishing).

The cultural norms of fishermen and scientists are worlds apart. Both groups have equally valid viewpoints, but their different means of experiencing the marine environment often lead them to radically different perceptions. Assessment scientists view fisheries on a regional scale, while fishermen’s experience is much more local. Scientists look at snapshots of data over a long time series, while fishermen observe a continuous-feed movie on a seasonal scale. Successful fishermen correctly intuit plans of action from multiple sources of information, while successful scientists systematically test hypotheses.