Partnerships for a Common Purpose: Cooperative Fisheries Research and Management

Principles of Cooperative Research

William T. Hogarth

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569858.ch5

Cooperative research programs and projects have existed in the NOAA Fisheries Service for most of the agency’s history and are considered a usual and normal approach for conducting fisheries research. This agency values cooperative research in supplementing its existing mandated and core research programs, and we have made cooperative research an integral part of the business of collecting data to support stock assessment and management activities.

In cooperative research, fishery scientists partner with commercial and recreational fishermen, the fishing industry, nongovernmental organizations, state fisheries management agencies, and universities. Partners in the regional cooperative research programs vary depending on regional research priorities and opportunities, but all programs have some level of involvement of fishermen or the fishing industry or other partnership groups in conducting regional research. It is through these partnerships that the agency gains access to knowledge, tools, techniques, skills, and experiences that are otherwise unavailable to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists. This access improves the quality and completeness of our science recommendations, fosters a better understanding of NOAA science and its process, and creates more support for buy-in of subsequent management policies. Moreover, by working together, synergy is obtained not only in joint problem solving, but also in the identification of what scientific questions to undertake, their priorities, and what approaches to use through a cooperative research program.

The remainder of this paper identifies a set of guiding principles relevant to the future of cooperative research activities in the United States. It is my hope that these principles will be given due consideration over the course of the symposium. Additionally, this paper provides a brief background, highlights current cooperative research programs in each of the six NOAA Fisheries Service regions, discusses examples of the impact of cooperative research in each of those regions, and last, identifies future needs for those regional programs.