Resolving conflicts in selecting a programme of fisheries science investigation

S. Kerr, K. Johnson, J. Side, M. Baine, C. Davos, J. Henley

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Investigation and illumination of the underlying conflicts within a community of fishers provided the context for the case study supporting this paper. The case study is based in the Scottish archipelago of Orkney which relies heavily on the marine environment for the well-being of its communities. This investigation goes beyond the conventional relationship between scientists and fishers, and places fishers in a position to identify a programme of scientific research for the benefit of their fishery. Participatory techniques are used to: (a) establish a collective research agenda of high priority subjects; (b) identify groups' statistically similar research priorities; (c) assess attitudes towards other stakeholders; (d) assess potential reaction to the research agenda. Special attention is given to dissemination of results. Key findings include a reluctance of fishermen to participate in meetings but a high level of participation through completion of questionnaires (in excess of 50%) after considerable personal contact with the research team. Partly reflecting the determination of those few who attended the meetings is the finding of the hostility they expressed towards fisheries science and research while a notably less hostile view was expressed in the returned confidential questionnaires. Cluster analysis identified four groups of fishers expressing differing priorities for four possible research programmes. A lesson for policy makers is the nature of the approach to gain the benefit of the fishing community's participation into research policy decisions. Determined individuals in public forums may not reflect majority opinions and other avenues of participation might be more reflective of conflict management potential. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)313-324
    Number of pages12
    JournalFisheries Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


    • Fisher participation
    • Fisher research priorities
    • Fisheries science conflicts


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