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Learning by Fishing: Practical Science and Scientific Practice

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Pálsson, Gísli
Conference: Reinventing the Commons, the Fifth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bodoe, Norway
Conf. Date: May 24-28, 1995
Date: 1995
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1290
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
resource management
local knowledge
Abstract: "Professional resource managers often assume that the ecological knowledge obtained by fishing skippers during years of practical experience is of relatively little use. At the same time, recent research indicates that knowledge gained on the spot, in the course of production, is of fundamental importance. This article explores, with particular reference to the Icelandic context, how fishermen's knowledge differs from that of professional biologists and to what extent the former could be brought more systematically into the process of resource management for the purpose of ensuring resilience and sustainability. An important recent attempt at bridging the gap between Icelandic fishermen and marine scientists is the so-called 'trawling rally' -- a procedure whereby a group of skippers regularly follow the same trawling paths identified by biologists for the purpose of supplying detailed ecological information. I argue that while the trawling rally is a useful and interesting experiment, it is important to look for alternative ways of engaging fishermen, of using practical knowledge of fishing for the purpose of sustainable resource-use and responsible management."

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