Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Description of the mechanisms of fishers' decision process

Deliverable 7 is included in the report on external factors that influence fishermen and their decision-making processes and principally focuse on the factors that affect their decision-making process when changing fishing tactics and strategies. In-depth interviews were conducted in the case study of Danish Demersal fisheries which covered three different fisheries: the demersal fisheries in the North Sea, the Nephrops fisheries in Kattegat, Skagerrak and the North Sea and the cod fisheries in the Baltic Sea. For the other case studies (Basque trawlers, Galician trawlers and longliners, English beam trawl fleets) questions on tactics where also included as an addendum to the quantitative survey that formed the basis of Deliverable 6.

For the other case studies, the questions relating to fishing tactics covered three main topics such as: questions about fishing location and how skippers decide where to fish; questions on gear used and species targeted and questions on fishing activity and the routine of fishing trips. For the in-depth interviews on Danish Demersal fisheries a factor analysis is conducted to show the differences in the fishermen�s tactical decisions and a typology is developed for the fishermen�s investment strategies. In total, 789 questionnaires were issued to skipper/owners, 271 or 34% of them responded. Seventeen in-depth interviews were conducted.

The results of the studies indicate that tactical decisions i.e. broadly when, where and how to fish on a trip basis, are influenced by a number of factors including regulations. Fishermen are hunters by nature and will adapt their tactical behaviour to imposed regulations by taking actions that will minimise the economic losses incurred by very restrictive measures.

Fishing is about exploitation of nature and thus an immense knowledge of how to do so most efficiently has been built up by the fishermen. Fishermen thus follow their own instincts based on their knowledge. In the case of the in-depth study on Danish demersal fleets, information and/or experience from the last fishing trip and the present fish prices were found to have the greatest influence on fishermen�s tactical behaviour, followed by their experience of what they did at the same time the previous year. Winds and the currents also have an influence but are less important. Fisheries regulation was only rated either 4th or 5th as the determinant of fishing practice in the fisheries.

Thus, it appears that regulation is not a primary consideration unless a particular regulation prevents access to a fishing ground or species in time and/or space. However, the results still emphasizes the importance of elaborating and articulating regulations that to a much larger degree take into account the behaviour of fishermen and this led Christensen and Raakjær Nielsen (2004) to conclude that there is scope for management to become more flexible and, to a larger degree, accommodate the specific challenges for the different fisheries. The key features of these results were closely linked to the research conducted in the same project on discrete choice modelling of fisher behaviour which essentially models key factors of behaviour identified in this deliverable.

Reported by

Pakefield Road
United Kingdom
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top