JAKFISH Policy Brief: coping with uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in fisheries management through participatory knowledge development

M.A. Pastoors, Clara Ulrich, D.C. Wilson, C. Röckmann, D. Goldsborough, D. Degnbool, L. Berner, T. Johnson, P. Haapasaari, M. Dreyer, E. Bell, E. Borodzicz, K. Hiis Hauge, D. Howell, S. Mäntyniemi, D. Miller, R. Aps, G. Tserpes, S. Kuikka, J. Casey

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The legitimacy of the scientific underpinning of European fisheries management is often challenged because of perceived exclusion of fishers knowledge and the lack of transparency in generating scientific advice. One of the attempts to address this lack of legitimacy has been through participatory knowledge development. In this paper, we will present the results of the JAKFISH project (Judgement and Knowledge in Fisheries Management involving Stakeholders) that focussed on the interplay between different actors in constructing the underpinning of policy decisions for sustainable fisheries. We tested participatory modelling as a tool to enhance mutual understanding and to increase legitimacy and found that it can be instrumental in developing a broader knowledge base for fisheries management and in building up trust between scientists and stakeholders. However, the participatory approach may not always work. Through social network analyses we found that the number of connections and the frequency of interactions between individuals in different groups (science, fisheries, eNGOs, policy) provides an important clue on the potential effectiveness of participatory approaches. We used three concepts to evaluate the role of scientific knowledge in policy making: salience, legitimacy and credibility. In situations with high stakes and high uncertainties, the evaluation of scientific analyses for policy decisions needs to involve a broader peer community consisting of scientists, policy-makers, NGOs and fisheries in order to increase legitimacy of results. When stakes are low and uncertainties are modest, the credibility of scientific results are sufficiently addressed through traditional scientific peer review
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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