Day 2 (May 15th) of our CFRN-GAP2 Exchange was a very full and productive day of sharing information and reflections from both sides of the “pond”.  It was a lot of information to ponder but we had such knowledgeable and experienced people around the table that we just could not stop talking! 

The day began with presentations by the GAP2 participants on the state of fisheries and case studies in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.  Some of the highlights included learning about the Dutch Young Fishermen’s Network co-founded by 26-year old fisherman René Sperling, the use of electrical pulse trawls in the Netherlands to reduce bottom impacts, and fisher involvement in planning and management in Spain.  Marloes Kraan reviewed important lessons learned from a GAP project on self-sampling and discards, including the benefits of contact between scientists and fishers, and of being open about the challenges of collaborative research.

Jonathan Larabee highlighted some initiatives of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, including its Marine Resource Education Program.  Developed by fishers for fishers, the program is designed to educate fishers about the science and management of fisheries, focusing on skill development to enhance their participation in management and stock assessment.  Similar training was offered by the Fishermen and Scientists Research Society in Nova Scotia in the past.  There is demand for training and skill development in these and other areas to facilitate collaborative research.

Rob Stephenson presented a draft framework for a sustainability “report card” to evaluate Canadian fisheries that he and others are developing as part of a project in the CFRN.  Discussion followed around objectives and indicators of fisheries sustainability, and comparison and contrast with approaches in other countries.  He also reviewed a case study of collaborative participatory approaches on herring research involving fishers and scientists in the Bay of Fundy.

Late afternoon the group headed out to Deer Island, with a stop at the St. George dam along the way to see alewife (gaspereau) in the fish ladder on their spring migration up the Magaguadavic River.  Following a sunny and “refreshing” ferry ride (think wind and sea spray!), we were welcomed warmly by fishing families and the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association on Deer Island, who treated us to a traditional Maritime lobster boil.  The locals we dined with were all fifth generation fishers.  Renzo Zennaro shared that he is also a fifth generation Italian fisher and so felt very at home among our hosts.

After the feast, Reid Brown of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association gave a presentation on a recent ghost trap retrieval project in the Bay of Fundy, which bore similarities to the litter retrieval experiences of the GAP2 fishers in the Netherlands.  We said goodnight and the GAP2 delegates headed “home” with local families to stay overnight and prepare for a big day of lobster fishing the next day.

Read all of the posts about the week’s activities on the GAP2 blog: