Trapped in the TAC Machine: Making a Fisheries-Based Indicator System for Coastal Cod in Steigen, Norway
The GAP project is concerned with the lack of stakeholder participation in providing knowledge for management. This creates a legitimacy problem as the fishermen do not get to share the knowledge basis for and justification of management decisions. In addition, fishermen’s experience-based knowledge remains unused. GAP intends to bridge the legitimacy and knowledge gaps, finding practical ways for fishermen and scientists to co-create the knowledge basis for management. In this paper, we explore whether and how such co-creation can be achieved. We do that in the context of one of the GAP case studies, which set out to establish and test a fisheries-based indicator system for coastal cod in Steigen, Norway. The inspiration for the case study was the Norwegian Reference Fleet, in which commercial fishing vessels are used as platforms for data collection. In GAP, however, we did not simply aim for a replication of the reference fleet model. We were much more ambitious, dreaming of a project that would allow deeper engagement of fishermen. Our strategy was to break out of the strict framework of topdown management and create a cooperative platform that would also open up for fishermen’s own insights and experiences. Inspired by collaborative research ideals, we sought equal partnership and true collaboration, where science and experience-based knowledge together would pave the way to a sustainable future. Based on four years of work, the conclusion is that we failed. In a technical sense, we did what we promised, setting up a fisheries-based indicator system for coastal cod. We ended up exactly with the type of project we tried to transcend, a mini version of the reference fleet. In this paper, we tell the story about how and why we got trapped in the TAC machine.
CitationHolm P, Aglen A, Bjørkan M, Andersen J: Trapped in the TAC Machine: Making a Fisheries-Based Indicator System for Coastal Cod in Steigen, Norway. In: Holm P, Hadjimichael M, Linke S, Mackinson S. Collaborative Research in Fisheries: Co-creating Knowledge for Fisheries Governance in Europe, 2020. Springer Nature p. 141-158
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