Using fishing industry data and knowledge as a contributor to marine science
Dr Steven Mackinson, the Chief Scientific Officer for the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, is one of the co-authors of an article on using fishing industry data and knowledge as a contributor to marine science.
Titled ‘A will-o’-the wisp? On the utility of voluntary contributions of data and knowledge from the fishing industry to marine science’ and published in the respected marine science journal ‘Frontiers’, the article examines the current situation and future potential for embracing the fishing industry as a means for providing more input for enhancing knowledge of fish stocks.
The article says that while there is clear willingness for the fishing industry to voluntarily contribute data and experiential knowledge, there is currently little evidence that current institutional frameworks for science and management are receptive and equipped to accommodate such contributions.
The article explores ways of overcoming such hurdles, which include concerns about data quality and over industry contributions impacting upon the integrity of science. According to the article, solutions include a move towards alternative modes of knowledge production, establishing appropriate quality assurance mechanisms, and facilitating governance structures to adapt to alternative modes of knowledge production.
Commenting on the article, Dr Mackinson said: “The fishing industry is a largely untapped resource for providing science with important data and knowledge. Much of this is down to there not being the correct frameworks and mechanisms in place to utilise such information, and this article suggests solutions and practical steps for moving forward.”