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CORDIS - Resultados de investigaciones de la UE

Collaborative Sustainable Innovation: co-designing governance approaches for a sustainable and innovative small-scale fishing industry in the Irish islands

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CO-SUSTAIN (Collaborative Sustainable Innovation: co-designing governance approaches for a sustainable and innovative small-scale fishing industry in the Irish islands)

Período documentado: 2018-10-01 hasta 2020-09-30

European fisheries and coastal communities are facing significant challenges that call for innovative, sustainable and inclusive responses. Almost three thousand islanders live on eighteen islands off the west coast of Ireland. Many of Ireland’s eighteen offshore islands depend on a small-scale fishing industry for survival. Their fishing communities face challenges in navigating complex fisheries governance systems at local, regional, national and EU scales. This research project engaged with Irish island fishing communities, the fishing industry and the policy environment in examining the challenges faced by island fishing communities in implementing innovative initiatives to manage island fisheries on a collective, seasonal basis.

Windows of opportunity are open at this time of significant policy change that involves the development of a national policy for Ireland’s offshore islands alongside national and regional marine plans for the sound management of Ireland’s marine environment. These processes provide an opportunity for the design and piloting of innovative governance initiatives for small-scale island fishing communities, that contribute towards meeting policy objectives at national, European and international scales.

The central research objective of this Fellowship was to work with the Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation to co-design and test innovative governance approaches for small-scale fisheries in the Irish islands that meet national and European marine planning and conservation objectives.

Key findings that emerged from the research are:

- The current fisheries policy framework produces inequities for small-scale fishers despite the State’s critical policy objective to manage quota-controlled stocks as a public resource. This policy is supposed to ensure that fishing opportunities are not concentrated into the hands of large fishing interests and a strong economic link between fishing vessels and the island and coastal communities where alternative economic activities may not be available.

- The Irish fisheries policy environment does not welcome challenges to the status quo, with the result that small-scale fishers continue to operate within a system that has been designed around the realities of the larger, industrial fleet. This entrenchment of the status quo constrains the agility of access to the resource that is crucial to the survival of island small-scale fishing communities who depend on fish stocks appearing in inshore waters within their reach.

- Resistance to changing the status quo of fisheries management approaches prevents the emergence of the space needed to trial innovative fisheries governance initiatives such as co-management of the islands fleet on a distinctive regional basis.

- To address the inequities in the system, differentiated approaches are needed that move beyond carving out sections of a historical status quo that privileges a small number of large operators.
This report covers the entirety of the project, completed over the course of 24 months (2018-2020) in the Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities, School of Histories and Humanities at Trinity College Dublin. Throughout the entirety of the project, the emergent findings were contextualised and disseminated in written outputs, through public speaking and through a series of short visits to the European Parliament to attend PECH Committee meetings and to relaunch a European women in fisheries network. The research has been presented internally and externally at conferences, symposia, public lectures and to different disciplines: political ecology, cultural anthropology, human geography, physical geography, marine social science, environmental economics, ecological economics and environmental history. Further dissemination has continued since completion of the project. During the project, critical engagement with peers and mentors from different disciplines has been invaluable in interrogating and reframing the research questions and in developing and maturing the written and creative outputs of the work. Dissemination and exploitation of the results have included both popular science writing in well-subscribed fishing industry publications, submissions to several policy consultations on Ireland’s national marine planning process, advising the Irish Government as a member of the Expert Advisory Group on the expansion of marine protected areas, providing expert advice to the Irish Government’s sub-committee on fisheries, peer-reviewed publications (including a collection of research poetry) and a short animation on the project’s findings produced through an art-science collaboration. The primary output of the project is a detailed policy report with thirteen policy recommendations. The objective in this regard is to provide guidance towards equitable governance of Irish fisheries and coherent governance of the marine environment in the broader context of Ireland’s National Marine Planning process.

In pursuit of the training objectives implicit in the DoA, discipline-specific skills have been developed through close mentorship, participation in seminars, colloquia and policy forums, and guest-lecturing. To further professional development and to maximise dissemination impact, a number of courses focusing on women in leadership, advanced presentation skills and teaching and learning have also been completed. One tangible output of this has been the co-founding by the researcher of an Irish marine social sciences network for the island of Ireland designed to create a national community, supporting articulation and communication of the complex and complicated relationship between society and the sea by raising the profile of the marine social sciences and by connecting researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in the marine and coastal sector on the island of Ireland within a broader, international marine social sciences network. In 2020, the researcher was the recipient of a Trinity Research Excellence Award for profound engagement with the public.
Scholarship has been advanced through this research by means of a detailed examination of primary sources, interdisciplinary enquiry and in-depth fieldwork. The work has been predicated upon substantial time spent in the field (both in the policy environment and in small island communities) and critical analysis. The research has advanced the state-of-the-art by demonstrating the practical relevance of concepts from critical theory to fisheries policy and governance approaches and by illustrating how unspoken assumptions underpinning fisheries governance approaches and policies can produce inequities for those without access to decision-making tables. This has been achieved in scholarly, policy-friendly and creative forms, including a manuscript; a policy report with practical, targeted recommendations; a collection of research poetry; and a short animation. It is anticipated that the manuscript will form a significant addition and contribute new perspectives to existing literature in relevant disciplines, that the policy recommendations will shape ongoing Irish and European marine policy processes and that the policy report, research poetry and animation will strengthen the science-policy-community interface by making concepts from critical theory accessible and relevant to policymakers and the general public.
Video still Managing for Diversity (Ruth Brennan&Michael (Mysh) Rozanov)
Video still Managing for Diversity (Ruth Brennan&Michael (Mysh) Rozanov)
Video still Managing for Diversity (Ruth Brennan&Michael (Mysh) Rozanov)
Arranmore Island, Donegal (Image: Seamus Bonner)