(i) Although I included fisheries in the power-interest grid, there is a need for fishermen who conduct small-scale, private activity to be included, as well. These folks to add are essentially hunters of the aquatic wildlife in the ocean. Considering the purpose of the Blue Bonds project is to enhance biodiversity, all categories of fishermen need to be included in the grid. Attention towards this population is definitely needed considering, “some coalitions have failed to form, specifically between local hunters and environmental groups, despite strongly overlapping views of nature and policy” (Robbins 2006, 186). The Nature Conservancy (TNC) views local fishermen as valuable stakeholders helping to fulfill its mission. For example, TNC featured Rick Skiba, from the Washington Waterfowl Association, who regularly checks in on Port Susan Bay and helps with the recurring issues of dumping and other human misuse throughout the year (Shaw, Randi 2017). That said, hunters of the waters play a crucial stewardship role in TNC’s Blue Bonds project. Additionally, in marine environmental history, fisheries historians highlight the role that fishing laborers played in both community and resource conservation, arguing that fishermen closely stewarded the resource and tried to limit the impact of industrial capitalism (Payne 2013). The project’s goal of enhancing local economies also makes private fisherman a stakeholder of interest and power. Just as the elk in Yellowstone provide meat for local hunters to eat (Robbins 2006, 186), coastal residents may be dependent on feeding off the local fish population. That said, they have often brainstormed and implemented practices to maintain a sustainable supply and are aware of the wildlife’s migration patterns. Another example showing the connection between local fishermen and their nearby wildlife is the Karuk tribe at the Klamath River. The river’s degradation profoundly affects indigenous families. For the Karuk tribe, fish historically accounted for a significant protein source, and continue to be an essential part of spiritual practices (Willette et al 2016). Considering research shows Karuk tribal members suffer health consequences from denied access to traditional foods, it is clear, “Karuk culture is inseparable from its ecological context” (Willette et al 2016, 375-376). Clearly, the Karuk local fishermen’s knowledge is comprehensive and would be useful to incorporate into the project.
(ii) The project would shift in terms of respecting the needs of these stakeholders in the decision-making process. Having someone such as Skiba as an ally would ensure there are guardians maintaining the progress TNC makes from its initial conservation action. That way, the organization can fulfill its mission of improving ocean health in the long-term. Considering the high interest these fishermen hold, they are motivated to upkeep the waters. That said, perhaps they would be willing to listen to scientists from the TNC. Further, a single fisherman can teach scientists about its specific location’s ocean waters and shift the program by suggesting methods of conserving the various types of species that are proven to function well. As a result, progress may be achieved with less funds then the program had originally foreseen.
(iii) The participation of fishermen in fisheries management is discussed with varying ideas under the notions of “co-management”, “participatory management” or “local management” (Bruckmeier et al. 2005). Empirical studies within Swedish fishery have thrown new light on the preconditions for fishermen’s participation in fisheries management. Among the important factors influencing failure or success are the question of articulation, organization and representation of interests of fishermen and the question of trust between the groups that are usually cooperating in resource management, fishermen, governmental administrators and researchers (Bruckmeier et al. 2005). Interests and trust, “soft facts”, can be as important for the success or failure of fisheries management and participation as can “hard facts” such as ownership rights, quantity and quality of resources or monetary value of resources (Bruckmeier et al. 2005). Overall, listening to the fishermen will bring more knowledge about the given areas and treating them well will result in actualizing the vision TNC is aiming to implement.
Bruckmeier, Karl, Anders Ellegård and Laura Piriz. 2005. “Fishermen’s Interests and Cooperation: Preconditions for Joint Management of Swedish Coastal Fisheries”. Sustainable Coastal Zone Management. 34(2): 101-110.
Payne, Brian. 2013. “Local Economic Stewards: The Historiography of the Fishermen’s Role in Resource Conservation”. Environmental History. 18(1): 29-43.
Shaw, Randi. 2017. “Hunters Helping Conservation”. The Nature Conservancy. https://www.washingtonnature.org/fieldnotes/hunters-helping-conservation
Robbins, Paul. 2006. The Politics of Barstool Biology: Environmental Knowledge and Power in Greater Northern Yellowstone. Geoforum 37(2): 185-199.
Willette, Mirranda and Kari Norgaard. 2016. “You Got to Have Fish: Families, Environmental Decline and Cultural Reproduction”. Families, Relationship and Societies. 5 (3). pp: 375-392.
Comment by Genevieve Brune:
You did a really good job summarizing the potential outcomes and differences that would come with including a new stakeholder for the Blue Bonds project. I think the addition of small-scale private fisherman is a great extension of your stakeholder analysis. It is easy to assume that most impacts come from commercial fisheries, but private, recreational fisheries are also a huge factor. Many individual users can still create an impact, but these fishermen are often left out of research and project assessments. Recreational fisheries can harm marine fisheries populations over time and impact coastal habitats, however, there is little regulations overseeing their activities (Shiffman 2020). It is a great idea to add these members to the stakeholder analysis, not only because of how they can impact the coastal health and biodiversity, but also because they can have very different views from commercial fisheries. During my work with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, I have experienced many different comments and perspectives from our various stakeholders. Two of these stakeholders are commercial fisheries and recreational fisheries. While the two inhabit the same world, they have very different views on offshore wind energy. Commercial fishermen are against the projects, fearing the impacts that the turbines could have on their jobs. However, the recreational fishermen are very supportive due to studies that indicate that turbines become artificial reefs and increase the number of fish (DiPaolo 2019). It is so important to try and breakdown broad groups even more, as it often provides different input and perspectives in stakeholder management.
DiPaolo, Nicole. 2019. “A New Home for Fish: How Offshore Wind Turbines Create Artificial Reefs.” National Wildlife Federation. https://blog.nwf.org/2019/09/a-new-home-for-fish-how-offshore-wind-turbines-create-artificial-reefs/
Shiffman, David. 2020. “Fishing for Fun? It Has a Bigger Environmental Impact Than We Thought.” The Revelator. https://therevelator.org/recreational-fishing-environmental-impact/
Thanks for the insightful comment- it’s so awesome to hear about work experience from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)!
I looked into the current issues commercial fisheries have with offshore wind projects. One concern is how offshore wind projects will impact the quality of fisheries science used for managing stocks (Haggett et al. 2020). A footprint of the offshore wind projects may limit monitoring and therefore the reliability of data for stock assessment (Haggett et al. 2020). The issue can have short-term economic effects on fisheries in systems where managers are required to take scientific uncertainty into account when determining allowable catches (Haggett et al. 2020). When designed to fully engage commercial fisheries and other stakeholders, marine spatial planning (MSP) can advance trust as it can lead to examining the impact of specific projects (Haggett et al. 2020). Further, in 2018, the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) formed as a coalition of approximately 170 fishing industry associations and companies (Haggett et al. 2020). RODA communicates with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and BOEM to ensure development is compatible with the business of commercial fisheries (Haggett et al. 2020). RODA has worked for improved offshore wind project layouts, increased spacing between turbines, and vessel transit zones (Haggett et al. 2020). It also partnered with the relevant regional ocean planning bodies to incorporate commercial fishery interests into data portals (Haggett et al. 2020). Participation of all stakeholders matter, and federal natural resource management organizations are doing great work to take all interests into account (Haggett et al. 2020). NOAA is conducting several research studies that include investigating habitats in offshore wind project development areas, effects on port and fisheries revenue, and impacts on cod stocks (Haggett et al. 2020). These investigations will contribute to comprehensive environmental impact analysis of how offshore wind projects will interact with fish, fisheries, and entire coastal communities (Haggett et al. 2020).
Haggett, Claire, Talya Ten Brink, Aaron Russell, Michael Roach, Jeremy Firestone, Tracey Dalton and Bonnie J. McCay. 2020. “OFFSHORE WIND PROJECTS AND FISHERIES: Conflict and Engagement in the United Kingdom and the United States”. Oceanography. 33(4): 38-47.