Tales from the Sea: Building relationships between scientists and fishers

As part of the 2016 International Marine Conservation Congress, in St John’s, Newfoundland, new Nereus Fellow at Stanford Julia Mason shared her story about beginning her career in science and the realizations she had.

She discusses the disconnect between fisheries science and the management of the fisheries on the ground and recounts one memorable conversation in which she was told:

“We, fishermen, know what’s going on on the water. We see it every day. We live it. When scientists try to talk to us or we reach out to them, they don’t listen. And if they do, they use our knowledge against us to try to limit our fishing. Fishermen have gotten really burned by scientists and we have no reason to be trusting.”

She goes on to discuss how scientific language and inquiry can alienate people and how important it is to build relationships and trust.

Watch the full story:

Stanford University

Julia Mason is a PhD candidate at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station. Her research is on the effects of climate variability and management on the social-ecological resilience of fisheries in California and Peru. She is interested in dynamic management approaches that protect highly migratory species and fisheries livelihoods in a variable, changing climate.