As students of the Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN), Danielle Edwards and I are eager to promote collaboration among sectors, in particular between academics and fishermen. We recently hosted an industry-based workshop in Nanaimo, BC with the help of two of our CFRN industry partners, Kathy Scarfo and Dan Edwards.  

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L-R: Sarah Hawkshaw (UBC), and industry representatives Dave Cary, Evan Martin, Jon Hunter and Evan Martin.

Based out the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre, Danielle and I are doing research to develop evaluation tools that can be used to assess the impacts of different types of management options on the BC salmon troll (Project 3.3e) and groundfish (Project 3.3a) fisheries.  Some of the management options we are investigating are: weak stock management, time-area closures, allocation decisions, and unpredictable changes in total allowable catch.  All of these management options are designed to achieve a specific objective for the fishery (usually ecological), and this often leads to tradeoffs with other objectives (e.g., social, economic) that are not captured.  Our research considers multiple factors including the impacts of management on stock status, financial returns, and fleet viability to highlight these tradeoffs and to propose potential alternative options that may improve the long-term sustainability of the management systems for stakeholders.

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Clockwise from top left: Wilf Luedke (DFO), Danielle Edwards (UBC), and industry representatives Dave Healey, Doug Kimoto, Gord Moseley, Brian March and Andy Webster.

 

 

A critical part of identifying and assessing these tradeoffs is collecting information from fishery participants about their objectives and management performance indicators. This is especially important when it comes to the main drivers affecting fishing behaviour and the financial viability of vessels operating in the fishery.  Danielle and I are developing industry-based questionnaires for both fisheries to gather this information.  These questionnaires will be completed through interviews with individual fishermen later this year.  The goal of the workshop was to increase awareness of ongoing research within the CFRN. We provided information to fishing industry representatives, had an opportunity to talk face-to-face with industry partners about what information is most important to consider in our research, and received feedback on how to design our questionnaires so that we can collect the most relevant information in an effective manner.

Participation in the workshop was very successful and included diverse representation from academia and industry, including salmon troll fishermen. Fisheries and Oceans Canada representatives were also present in the afternoon session in which we discussed the development of salmon troll management approaches. 

The theme and structure of the workshop emphasized encouraging further involvement of industry participants in our research. Considerable interest was expressed by workshop participants not only in becoming more involved in current research, but also contributing to related projects in the future.

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L-R: Sarah Hawkshaw and industry representatives Jon Hunter, Greg Gower and Ray Jesse.

A particularly successful component of the workshop was the breakout group sessions. During these group discussions, industry objectives were identified, challenges facing the BC salmon troll fisheries were discussed, and we received very helpful feedback on our draft questionnaire.  Participants shared their knowledge and experience, information which is invaluable and will ultimately strengthen our research on BC fisheries.

Our next steps for these research projects will involve a number of follow-up meetings with industry groups along with conducting and analyzing the results of the upcoming industry-based interviews.  We are also working on a comparative analysis of the discussion points from the workshop and the elements of the CFRN Evaluation Framework for Sustainable Fisheries, as we were amazed by how well the workshop discussions aligned with the elements of the framework.