Fisheries Science Partnerships
One of the great advances of the last decade has been the rise and spread of industry science collaboration, through which fishermen and scientists work together to increase knowledge about specific fisheries.
As well as generating useful data and insights, the Fisheries Science Partnership established by NFFO, CEFAS and DEFRA in 2003/4, has helped to improve the working relationships between fishermen and scientists, and provided a model which has been followed elsewhere in the UK and in Europe.
Although budget cuts have recently depleted the funding available for FSP projects, the concept of industry/science collaboration is now well established and can be expected to manifest itself in various forms throughout our fisheries in future. Fisheries science partnerships are in fact part of a wider transition from a top-down (but failed) approach to fisheries knowledge and management, towards a more democratic approach which involves the principle stakeholders in the decision-making process.