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Fishermen, scientists, NGOs and governments join forces to ensure a sustainable future for fisheries

Barcelona, Spain – How can we ensure that fish will still be available in the future? A unique international event is opening today in Barcelona to try and answer this issue. Until February 26, the Participatory Research and Co-Management in Fisheries’ GAP2 International Symposium will gather scientists, fishers, NGOs and policy-makers from Europe and beyond. Together, they will explore how greater collaboration in fisheries research can contribute to the successful long-term future of fishing in the EU, and in particular co-management. They will discuss and critically examine and debate the successes and challenges of participatory research methods in fisheries, using experience gained ‘in the field’ through 13 case studies.

Barcelona, Spain – How can we ensure that fish will still be available in the future? A unique international event is opening today in Barcelona to try and answer this issue. Until February 26, the Participatory Research and Co-Management in Fisheries’ GAP2 International Symposium will gather scientists, fishers, NGOs and policy-makers from Europe and beyond. Together, they will explore how greater collaboration in fisheries research can contribute to the successful long-term future of fishing in the EU, and in particular co-management. They will discuss and critically examine and debate the successes and challenges of participatory research methods in fisheries, using experience gained ‘in the field’ through 13 case studies

"Scientists are waking up to the value of incorporating fishers' knowledge into the design and implementation of their research. This GAP2 event is a fantastic opportunity for scientists from all over the world to hear first-hand from fishers, scientists and policy makers involved in participatory research how the process has worked for them, and what challenges they have faced", said Dr Steven Mackinson, GAP2 Coordinator.

Held against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea, the symposium aims to forge new partnerships for future research, and provide a collaborative forum in which all contributions are given equal credence.
A key feature of the event is a workshop on ‘Co-management in the Mediterranean’, involving fishers, scientists, NGOs and high-level policy makers from across this key region. Community-based co-management – where responsibility is shared between the government and stakeholders – is an approach used increasingly as an effective way to improve fisheries governance and deliver on sustainability. “Co-management is a vehicle for sustainability which is used globally on a wide variety of fisheries, not only small-scale ones, said Dr. Sergi Tudela, Head of the Fisheries Program at WWF Mediterranean. Not only it is a success, but there is no better approach to date if we want to guarantee the long-term availability fish resources for the future”.

An example of the successful work carried out in the framework of the GAP2 project is the red shrimp case, in the Catalonian area of Palamos, Spain. With the support of fishermen, scientists identified the main recruitment areas and season for juvenile capture of the red shrimp Aristeus antennatus. The final objective was to establish a long term fishery policy and reach a sustainable exploitation of the most important fishery resource of the region. “Our hopes for the future are not only to grow the red shrimp fishery, but to grow it sustainably”, said Conrad Massaguer, Spanish Skipper in the Palamós fishery.

The co-management model in fisheries management allows leveraging the experience of fishermen; they are the ones who know the resources in their area the best. At the same time, this fisheries management can be completed with scientists’ knowledge. In addition, the participation of governments and environmental organizations like WWF, representing the other two sectors of society involved in fisheries management, makes fisheries management agreed actions to have a wider and more consolidated coverage”. Several researchers from the Marine Science Institute of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have been involved in projects to improve the management of the Palamós shrimp, the Catalonia sand-eel or the Roses hake fisheries, added Joan Batista Company, scientist  of the CSIC’s Marine Science Institute and co-organizer of the event.

Participatory Research and Co-Management in Fisheries’ - GAP2 International Symposium, Barcelona, February 24 – 26, 2015 - Follow the event on twitter: @GAP2_Project / #GAP2IS / #GAP2simposio


For information / interviews: Chantal MENARD (00 34) 646 75 1038 cmenard@wwfmedpo.org