Lessons in Leadership: Integrating Courage, Vision, and Innovation for the Future of Sustainable Fisheries
Conceptual Basis for Building Leadership in Inland Fisheries in Developing Countries: What Have We Learned?
Just as in artisanal fisheries it is crucial to have leaders who guide their communities in management processes (Gutierrez et al 2011), effective leadership in research groups is also important. This is particularly relevant in developing countries, which tend to disregard the importance of collecting extensive fisheries information and where academic institutions often have insufficient resources for long-term monitoring programs. It is therefore important to form research groups in freshwater fisheries that empower leaders to overcome limitations and facilitate the advancement of those they lead.
In the fisheries arena, several studies have provided guidelines for selecting appropriate mentors (e.g., Kennedy and Roper 1990) and advisors (e.g., O’Connor 2012), but less attention has been given to characterizing fisheries leaders. Moreover, although an extensive literature has explored the required conditions for developing leadership (e.g., Dubrin 2010), few studies have considered how this concept applies to inland fisheries in countries with notable resource limitations. In this vignette, I will convey my perspective as to what makes a good leader and the required conditions for working in freshwater fisheries in developing countries, based on my experience in Argentina. I will emphasize lessons learned that may be applicable to other South American countries and the vision I imagine for the future of groups working in inland fisheries. In this context, I will consider some critical components that define the desired leadership profile for managing a research group in freshwater fisheries, generating high-quality academic products compatible with international standards, and facilitating development of undergraduate and graduate students.