Date of Award

8-2012

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Marine Policy

Advisor

Teresa Johnson

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey Runge

Third Committee Member

James Wilson

Abstract

Cooperative research, scientists and fishermen collaborating in scientific research, is an integral part of ensuring stakeholder involvement in fisheries management by linking and utilizing the knowledge of science and industry. By bringing science and industry together, cooperative research aims to improve trust, communication and the credibility and legitimacy of science and management. With a recent increase of interest in stakeholder involvement in management decisions and with the continued importance of successful relationships between science and industry, it is essential that we better understand the perceptions of cooperative research participants and the roles boundary-spanners play in these processes. I examined the perceptions of industry and science cooperative research participants in the cooperative research process concerning (1) the importance and achievement of cooperative research goals and (2) the importance and frequency of involvement of fishermen in certain steps in the process. Additionally, I identified and characterized fishermen and scientist individuals perceived as boundary spanners in the cooperative research process. Based on comparisons of survey responses of agreement concerning the importance and the achievement of cooperative research goals and the involvement of fishermen in the research process, significant differences were found between the perceptions and attitudes of fishermen and scientist participants. However, both industry and science participants generally agree the goals providing indirect benefits of participating in cooperative research are being achieved, such as improved communication and the building of trust, respect and mutual understanding between fishermen and scientists, but view those goals that are direct benefits, such as improved fisheries management, as not being achieved. Within cooperative research, certain individuals are perceived as leaders in cooperative research who play a key role in communicating, reducing conflict, improving trust and translating between science and industry. These boundary-spanners are believed to be vital in exchanging knowledge successfully in cooperative research and in promoting the usefulness and importance of cooperative research. Interviews with individuals identified as leaders in cooperative research provided data for characterizing and identifying individuals as boundary spanners in the cooperative research process. Generally, individuals identified as boundary spanners have all been working with fishermen and/or scientists for extended periods of time and these individuals possess personal characteristics, such as enthusiastic attitudes, leadership skills and networking skills that allow them to fulfill their boundary spanner role across industry and scientific boundaries. Understanding the perceptions of participants in the cooperative research process will help to identify areas for improvements to the process and understand the roles of fishermen and scientists in that process. In addition, identifying boundary spanners helps to understand the roles these individuals play in working across the science-fishery boundary and perpetuating cooperative research.

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