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Part B -Current Responses


This section briefly reviews the aims, methods and effectiveness of formal research in fisheries.

3.1 The Aims and Priorities of Formal Fisheries Research

As with other sectors, research in fisheries is closely linked to policy processes as outlined in section 2.1.2. Involvement of the public sector in research in fisheries has been justified in a number of ways: the shared resources and diverse and competing interests; the existence of social objectives which cannot be met by the market; the cost-effectiveness of centralised research institutes; the time and risk elements of return on research investment; and the lack of opportunity for private sector property rights in the results of research (World Bank et al.., 1992).

Formal fisheries research has evolved over centuries. Its initial focus was on the identification of different species and their arrangement into systematic taxonomies. Later emphasis was on the ecology of the target species, their biomass and distribution, their behaviour, and the environment in which they lived. This was combined with research into new techniques for expanding production from the waters.

The point to which fisheries research had evolved to in the 1970's is reflected in the guidance to researchers provided at the time: Kesteven's `Manual of Fisheries Science' (1973) divides fisheries research into biology, technology, economics and operations reflecting the view of the time that fisheries science is concerned with the resource and its harvesting.

As resources became more heavily exploited the emphasis of research shifted to the management of fisheries in order to maximise the sustainable benefits from the resource. The focus of the research has further evolved as the aims of management moved from the maximisation of sustainable production, through sustainable economic benefits, to a balance of social, economic and environmental goals.

The production focus to scientific research in fisheries gradually expanded and the initial evolution towards economic research has moved towards greater concern for the people involved in fisheries, but the majority of fisheries research remained, until very recently, predominantly focused on the natural sciences part of the sector.

In more recent years "...the complex interplay of community rules of conduct, social sanctions and the interpersonal behaviour of fishermen with formal institutions..." (Ruddle, 1989: 168) in the development and management of fisheries has become more clearly understood and has encouraged the incorporation of more social science into the sector. The SIFR (World Bank et al.., 1992) identified the human linkages, socio-economics and policy as applied research requirements. Within FAO's Expert Consultation of Research, held in 1994 to identify priority areas for FAO's involvement in research, one of the challenges for fishery research was identified as improvement of the socio-economic sustainability of the sector (FAO, 1994).

A significant step forward has been the ACP-EU Fisheries Research Initiative which has as its overall goal "to stabilise or increase the socio-economic benefits from aquatic resources, while at the same time reducing environmental degradation" (ACP-EU Fisheries Research Initiative, 1997: 3). Within this initiative there is also a concern for governance issues within research (Nauen, 1995).

DFID's wider development policy calls for a new approach to research (H. M. Government, 1997). Under this approach DFID requires all be demand-driven and poverty-focussed, and to involve target institutions and primary stakeholders where possible, especially in identifying research needs and priorities (DFID, 1999). DFID's Post-Harvest Fisheries Programme, for instance, has recently re-focussed its strategy to become much more people-centred and impact-oriented and includes several projects which use participatory approaches (Campbell, 1999).

There has also been considerable research, albeit of a less formal nature, which has taken place within donor-funded projects. Some of this has been much more interdisciplinary and participatory. Methods from RRA, PRA and PAR have been used to generate knowledge during project planning especially where a `process-approach' is adopted (see ODA 1995, for a discussion of process and blueprint projects).

Some institutions and governments have also recognised the potential of indigenous knowledge to contribute to the research and development process and attempts nave been made to incorporate this into research strategies through more participatory approaches to research.

3.2 Modern Scientific Research Methods in Fisheries

The disciplines involved in the scientific research process and the approaches adopted have, of necessity, hanged to meet these shifts in emphasis and focus. Much early research was of a descriptive nature and this continues to be important today. Later work aimed to understand the relationship between dependent and independent variables in the physical world which explained ecological and behavioural patterns. This research was characterised by natural science research methods and approaches relying heavily on controlled and objective experimentation. Research methods tended to be quantitative with a strict separation of the researcher from the researched. In may cases they were methods which were developed in temperate climate countries (Gulland, 1979; NRC, 1985) where single species fisheries were predominant and these did not always translate well to the multi-species stocks of the tropics (Munro, 1979). Resource surveys were mainly carried out using large research vessels from international agencies which concentrated on the resources in deeper waters generally outside of the scope of artisanal fishers. The disciplines relied upon were, traditionally, biology, ecology, and to some extent, economics (Clay and McGoodwin, 1995).

In addition to conducting its own research, the fisheries sector has also relied heavily on research conducted in other sectors and the importation of developed technologies into the sector e.g. engines and electronic equipment (World Bank et al.., 1992).

As the aims of research have slowly but progressively changed to incorporate a greater emphasis on the social and empowerment issues of the sector, so at least some research approaches have incorporated disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, policy analysis, and institutional analysis. These have brought to natural resources research both different research paradigms and methods. These social science research methods have in some situations complemented natural science research methods. For instance, Richards (1989) describes how ethnographic methods in agriculture have helped to understand some of the fundamental issues of traditional production systems.

In spite of these changes, the top-down, production-focus side of the scientific research paradigm continues to dominate fisheries research in many countries (e.g. see Dehadrai; 1998 for a review of fifty years of fisheries research in India) and the level of integration of fisheries research with other sectors and disciplines has been low (World Bank et al., 1992). It is recognised, however, that this approach is, for many countries, no longer appropriate. SIFR says of India: "There seems to be one theme that runs through all the foregoing discussion of research needs. It is that the most pressing problems facing improved management and development of Indian fisheries appear to be of an institutional, economic and social nature rather than a technical one." (World Bank et al., 1991: 22). This is a theme running through many fisheries research programmes.

3.3 The Effectiveness of Formal Fisheries Research

There can be little doubt that modern scientific research in fisheries has led to increases in our knowledge and continues to do so. However, it is necessary to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of that research given the limited funding available for research effort and the scale of the problems facing the development of fisheries in many countries. Research funding is a small part of overall development funding and it needs to be used effectively if it is to fulfil its vital role.

In the late 1970s it was noted that there was accumulated a large bulk of information in the research literature "...but not much that can be immediately used to help advise the authorities as to whether or not catches can be increased". (Gulland, 1979: 28). In the early 1990s the situation according to SIFR had not moved much further and "most sectoral institutes" were "still heavily engaged in the kinds of programs that were designed when they were established" and "research proposals" were "seldom integrated into coherent strategies for development." (World Bank et al., 1992: 37-38). This study went on to say: "...because present programs are restricted almost entirely to the biological and technical dimensions of existing production systems, or to the introduction of new intensive systems for raising exotic, high-value species, they fail to address the fishery sector's most important issues, which are economic and sociological." (World Bank et al.; 1992: 38). Whilst these conclusions are generalised for the developing countries studied, it is noted that the quality of research is very variable between countries and regions.

The limitations of current research approaches are now widely recognised at the highest levels. The Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research in the report of its first session says: "...fisheries scientists and managers recognise the shortcomings of certain current research methods which may, by their nature and origin, be blind to important dimensions of the problems being addressed by research..." (ACFR, 1997: 30). In addition, research funds at the national level are reducing, as Nauen et al. (1996: 153) say: "Globally, with a few exceptions, investment in research and in the supporting training system is insufficient in order to maintain or build up a capacity of analysing the state of the resource and of anticipating the measures to be taken to maintain the economic profitability of the sector".

New approaches to research are sought which address these problems. As Charles (1995:233) says: "the pursuit of sustainable fisheries requires a broad vision of fishery science - as the scientific study of fishery systems. This implies the incorporation into fishery science of research on fishery management, fishing processes, fisher behaviour and the human dynamics of fishery systems".

ACFR has identified a need for fisheries research to shift its emphasis from a programme of research that, in the past, has been predominantly concerned with fishery resources to a future programme with substantial emphasis on the human dimensions of fisheries." (ACFR, 1997:iv). At a recent SIFAR workshop in Senegal, fisheries researchers and policy-makers for that sub-region of West Africa agreed that the linkages between researchers, fishers and policy-makers were generally weak. It was recognised that in many situations research outputs were not very relevant to the needs of either the policy-makers or the fishers, that the effectiveness needed to be improved, and that participation in research had a very significant role to play.

A much more interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach is also called for where sectors are studied together in geographical areas such as the coast (FAO, 1996). There is also a growing recognition of the possibilities which indigenous knowledge (such as in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, FAO, 1995), and participatory research offer to the fisheries sector.


Indigenous knowledge is something which we all have. It has been defined as "...the unique, traditional, local knowledge existing within and developed around the specific conditions of women and men indigenous to a particular geographic area" (Grenier, 1998: 1). A training in formal science attempts to modify that indigenous knowledge and replace it with a more generic form of knowledge which is shared across cultural boundaries.

The extent to which the formal science system is a reflection of the indigenous knowledge system in which it was developed is often ignored but is a growing concern amongst some of those who approach participation in research for philosophical reasons (see section 1.3.3). Formal science certainly operates within a knowledge system and it is at the interface between the indigenous knowledge systems of fishers and that of formal science that many of the problems of transferability, valuation and quality arise.

This section looks at how indigenous knowledge is generated and reviews its the scope, extent and use.

4.1 Generating and Transferring Indigenous Knowledge

Knowledge systems are not all the same (see Mahale and Sorée, 1999, for an account of "cosmovisions" in health and agriculture in India, and Lipset, 1997, for an account of the world vision of fishers in the mangroves of Papua New Guinea). Different people have different ways of generating, compiling, explaining, and storing knowledge. They also have particular ways of communicating the information which they generate from that knowledge (Mundy and Compton, 1999). In many cases empirical knowledge is intertwined with ritualism and spiritual beliefs (Teiwaki, 1988). This combination can provide a useful function in that resource knowledge linked to fear of the spirit world can ensure effective compliance with traditional resource management measures (Lokani, 1995).

The degree to which the methods used to generate indigenous knowledge would be considered by professional research participants as research is an area of considerable debate. The indigenous knowledge of some communities has, as mentioned above, been shown to be generated in systematic ways and clearly has qualities of reliability and validity which the knowledge users consider acceptable. It is likely, however, that much indigenous knowledge is generated as part of the normal livelihood process and accumulated incrementally and over a long time period. Such knowledge may not always be presented in the same cause and effect relationship as that used by professional research participants. However, it may still provide the fishers with a workable explanation of the world they live in. This in turn may enable them to predict likely events with an adequate degree of accuracy to enable them to make decisions concerning their lives. In this regard the question has been posed: "...whose reality are we trying to measure and appreciate?" (Mukherjee, 1997: 28). As fisheries research combines greater elements of social science, and as that science moves away from the rigidity of the single world view of objective reality to one where reality has at least elements of social construction, so then fisheries research must explore new ways of generating, valuing and using data which accommodate these different perspectives.

Few of these knowledge systems are well understood but the value of indigenous knowledge is becoming more appreciated. Traditional ecological knowledge in particular is beginning to play an important role in resource management but it has been slow to develop in fisheries (Berkes, 1993). However, there is a growing recognition of the value of this knowledge and of the importance of recording it in some formal way (Palomares et al. 1993). The FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries specifically mentions the need to draw on traditional knowledge for both understanding the resources and determining how best to manage them (e.g. see FAO 1997 for the situation in inland fisheries).

4.2 The Scope, Extent and Use of Indigenous Knowledge in Fisheries

Within the fisheries sector, many fishers have a profoundly detailed knowledge of their environment, the species of fish they target, and changes in the waters they fish, navigation, the seasons which influence their fishing and the techniques which preserve fish (see for instance von Brandt, 1972, Johannes, 1981, and Worsley, 1997). This knowledge has evolved over many hundreds or thousands of years.

The knowledge is not restricted to men in fishing communities, women often have detailed knowledge of the various systems, for instance processing and preservation of fish under different circumstances, and of markets. In some communities women play an important role in fishing and have generated knowledge about fish behaviour and harvesting (Tuara, 1995). In some communities the taxonomies of fish species are well developed and the fishing methods adapted to take account of "…differences in anatomy, behaviour and habitats of many different species" (Johannes, 1981: 10). In St Lucia professional research participants found that community-based research participants had developed management strategies for mangroves which enabled harvesting to be achieved on a sustainable basis (Geoghegan and Smith, 1998).

Fishers also have considerable knowledge about the social, cultural and institutional arrangements which operate within their communities, how resources are allocated and how conflicts are avoided or resolved. This information can be useful for designing development interventions or designing effective resource management systems (FAO, 1995).

This is not to say that indigenous knowledge is always accurate, infallible or indeed accurately transferred to the outsider. As Grenier (1998:53) says: "All knowledge systems have their limitations and weaknesses, and IK is no exception". In some cases people's knowledge of the environment may be simplistic and relatively poor (Townsley, 1998). In many cases it is localised, not forward looking, and vulnerable to environmental change (Okali et al.,1994). Lightfoot et al. (1993) also warn of its limitations. Indeed historic disruptions in the flow of information from one generation to another may severely limit that knowledge to a few individuals in specific communities. In some societies knowledge correlates closely with power and is closely guarded. In Kiribati in the Pacific, for instance, special knowledge concerning navigation or good fishing locations is kept within families (Teiwaki, 1988). Whilst it has its faults, such knowledge is also often free of some of the limitations of modern scientific knowledge generated within sectoral boundaries (Townsley, 1998) and thus may be particularly useful in more integrated systems such as sustainable livelihood approaches and coastal area management.

This indigenous knowledge is often of great significance to the communities concerned and is essential for their livelihoods and the sustainable use of resources (Mulipola et al., 1995; Lokani, 1995; and Saucerman and Kinsolving, 1995). However, the size and scope of the social and environmental problems now facing the sector means that new knowledge is required quickly in order to formulate appropriate responses. Traditional knowledge-generating systems and the use of indigenous knowledge in isolation from the outside world are often inadequate to cope with these challenges.

There is growing need to explore the structure and function of indigenous knowledge systems in fisheries, and in particular the interface between indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge systems. Collaborative approaches to participation in research offer an opportunity to do this.


This section briefly reviews experiences in participation in research in agriculture before reviewing some examples of experience of participation in research in fisheries.

5.1 The Experience of Participation in Research in Agriculture

The agriculture sector is perhaps the sector in which most progress has been made in involving primary producers and processors in the research process and is the one which is most often cited. It is useful to quickly review developments in this area before moving on to fisheries.

Past conventional research based in agricultural research institutes has been highly effective in generating benefits for wealthier farmers operating in resource-rich areas (Chambers et al., 1989). This is largely because the controlled environments and easy access to inputs of the research institute have usually paralleled those of the resource-rich farmer. In contrast resource-poor farmers operate in more complex, diverse and risk-prone environments (Farrington, 1998). Attempts to transfer skills, knowledge and technology from the research stations to the resource-poor farmers were met with problems which were variously attributed to ignorance or poor farm practices. There is now a growing realisation that the problem is more concerned with the technology and with the priorities and processes which generate it (Chambers et al., 1989).

Most participatory agricultural research, conducted for functional reasons by public sector research agencies, has been done with individual farmers. This has been particularly successful with articulate farmers enjoying good infrastructure in well-endowed areas but less so in difficult areas. By contrast the empowerment-oriented research of the NGO sector has tended to work with groups (Farrington, 1998).

In the past much of the on-farm research has been the validation and demonstration of technologies which have previously been developed elsewhere in controlled condition (Sumberg and Okali, 1989). This represents a contractual level of participation in Biggs' scheme. However, there has been a growing acceptance at all levels of intervention (although not in all agencies in all countries), within research centres, governments, academic institutions and NGOs, of the need to involve local people as active partners in all aspects of research (Scoones and Thompson, 1994). There has been considerable progress in this.

Richards (1985) gives a detailed account of the indigenous knowledge and research capacity of farmers in West Africa and acknowledges a long tradition, both in West Africa and more globally, of participation between researchers and farmers. Bunch (1989) describes examples of technologies which were developed by the farmers themselves and disseminated to their colleagues (such as novel inter-cropping methods, nontoxic pest control, different uses of native grass species for soil conservation and shade).

A workshop held in July 1987 in the lnstitute of Development Studies in the University of Sussex brought together some 50 people to exchange experiences in participatory research and which gave prominence to the `farmer first' concept (Chambers, 1989). This stimulated the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to conceive a three-year programme of research support and institutional collaboration called `Beyond Farmer First: Rural People's Knowledge, Agricultural Research and Extension Practice' . This in turn gave rise to a collection of case studies from a diversity of countries which recounted the experiences in participatory research (Scoones and Thompson, 1994).

The status of participatory research in agriculture was reviewed in 1994 by Okah et al. Whilst this cites many examples where participation in agriculture has moved forward, it notes (1994: 135) that "...few projects have developed a satisfactory approach to the interaction of formal and informal research activities".

Further examples of participation in agricultural research are given in van Veldhuizen (1997) who looks at the importance of who initiates and controls the research process, who participates in it and how relationships between farmers and outsiders are established and evolved. In Prain et al. (1999) further examples of farmer experimentation are considered and the conclusions reached include:

5.2 The Experience of Participation in Research in Fisheries

Some examples of participation in the fisheries research process are given below and discussed more generally in section 5.3.

The collaboration between professional research participants and fishers in research has a long history. Naturalists of the 191 century often understood the level of knowledge of fishers and used them to locate and catch species for taxonomic collections. Anthropologists, such as Malinovski, also worked with fishing communities and recorded the breadth and depth of their knowledge systems (see Young, 1979: von Brandt, 1984; Igarashi, 1984). This work was generally of Type B and C of the framework shown in box 6.

Much of the research into fishing gear and resources carried out by professional research participants up to the 1990s involved fishermen at best as crew to guide researchers to resources. Some were also hired to collect data in the fishing villages where they lived, again a Type B relationship. In recent years it has been recognised that the experience and perceptions of fishermen and women have much to add to those of the researchers. However, this has been achieved in ways that vary in their degrees of interaction between the two groups of participants, at different stages of the research cycle and with different degrees of empowerment. Much of the research into fish disease in fish farming in.South East Asia, and the development of fish farming methods for the rural poor in Bangladesh, have tended to be contract-type research (Type B) where local resources, equipment and labour are used to carry out research. Research into the types of mixes of species and the farming practices under different fish farm and rice-fish growing conditions in the North West of Bangladesh has relied more heavily on the knowledge, practical testing and validation by the fish farmers (Type D). In addition the CARE Interfish project has focussed on helping fish farmers to develop the skills to understand and work with their ecosystem more effectively (Gregory and Kamp, 1999). This has allowed them to develop research implementation skills through participatory action learning methods that aims to increase their empowerment through a better understanding of their environment. This is an interesting case of Type D participation. The CARE Cages project in Bangladesh encouraged women to experiment with different feeding regimes and fish seed stocking practices in fish cage culture. In a very short time the women had begun developing their own experiments and incorporating the findings into their farming practices (Gregory and Kamp, 1999). This not only increased the involvement of the women in the implementation of research, it also empowered them to develop their own trials.

In some, the research relationship has evolved from one where the fishers are contracted to work with the research, to utilising their local knowledge (Type C) or actively collaborating with them to identify and research constraints. In an ODA (Overseas Development Administration of the UK Government) funded research project in the late 1980s, the possibility of taking theoretical laboratory research and applying it practically in the field to improve the use of sail as an aid to fishing was explored. Wind tunnel tests were carried out to determine the performance of different hull/sail combinations under `realistic' working conditions in a wind tunnel. The theoretical results were then applied to existing sail powered fishing vessels in Brazil and Tanzania. This research moved from a Type A relationship to a Type D, from research laboratory to working with the fishermen to test the innovations. In spite of improved designs being indicated by the wind tunnel research it was not possible to arrive at designs that, in the minds of the fishers, could improve on what they had. The conclusions of the research were that: "...the design of artisanal vessels and sails is almost inseparable from the set of conditions (such as fishing technique, climate, physical geography, materials available, accepted practice and market opportunities) which governed their evolution. This evolution has often ensured that particular vessels fit almost perfectly into a niche formed by a certain set of conditions, and the resulting craft are as diverse as the environments in which they operate." (Wilson and Davy, 1993). In both locations the traditional sail/craft had evolved using Type I research, i.e. through indigenous research effort over many years providing highly effective craft.

The DFID-funded Post-Harvest Project under the Bay of Bengal Programme initiated research into the experience and problems in the traditional fish smoking practices of Andhra Pradesh, South India with a view to introducing 'Maldive Fish' production into the region. Following initial social, economic and market research the original concept of introducing the processing technology was considered to be unviable. However, dining smoking trials to identify the factors affecting the quality of the fish produced, the women fish processors themselves identified the need to research ways of improving their traditional fish smoking practices. The research then changed direction completely to address this demand and a redesigned fish smoking oven was developed and tested in collaboration with the fishers (Salagrama and King, undated). The result was a better fish product, produced more cheaply, under healthier and safer conditions for over 200 families. This started as technology-driven research which evolved to become a very collaborative relationship of Type D with elements of Type G (community-led consultative).

DFID-funded research, implemented in the coastal regions of Ghana, used multidisciplinary research to develop a holistic understanding of coastal ecosystems and to explore the potential for grass-roots participation in environmental resource management and planning. The research started as a Type C research using participatory research methods to consult with the community, and evolved into Type D when a database of indigenous knowledge was jointly designed and created (Porter et al., undated).

Ongoing research in Nigeria, implemented under DFID's Post-Harvest Fisheries Research Programme, is working with fish traders to test participatory fish loss assessment methods. This involved working with traders to determine the effectiveness of using participatory methods to collect statistically valid data on the extent and cause of smoked fish losses during transportation. Fishers have been involved in planning parts of the research and implementing the data collection. They have also been trained in PRA methods for implementing some of the research in their own communities and some have also been involved in evaluating the effectiveness of the research. Their involvement has substantially raised awareness of the problems and causes of fish loss. This research is mainly of Type D, involved participation in several stages of the research cycle and had the benefit of raising awareness (A. Ward pers. com., 2000).

Ongoing research in India, again under the DFID Post-Harvest Fisheries Research Programme, is working with fish processing women to identify methods for overcoming wet season fish losses. The strategies were jointly developed by the fishers and the professional research participants and then tested by the fishers with support from the professional researchers. The fishers then validated the results of the research within their normal operational social, economic and institutional settings (V Salagrama pens. com., 1999). This research is a collaborative process of Type D, involving the community in several stages of the research and raising their awareness about possible changes.

In the shark fishery in the southern part of Western Australia research started on a contract basis (Type B) with fishermen supplying catch and effort data for fish stock research. The research strategy has evolved to a position where fishers are involved in the development of research projects. As a result “the research has the support of the fishing industry and also encourages co-operation and hence the provision of accurate data on catches, fishing effort and tag-captures.” (Simpfendorfer and Donohue, 1998: 593). This represents an evolution of the research to a Type D relationship. In a similar way the failure of formal research methods to generate confidence in the fishermen has prompted the Namibian government to collaborate closely with fishermen in the implementation of research with professional researchers and fishermen joining each other on their respective vessels for exchanges of knowledge and experience (Oelofsen, 1998).

The South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS) is a fishermen's association which has established as a sound base of representation for 6,660 fishermen throughout the South India region (SIFFS, 1998). Recognising the difficulties associated with the supply and cost of ice for its members, SIFFS approached the Natural Resources Institute in the UK (NRI) and asked it to carry out research into the factors affecting the market viability of community owned and operated ice plant within the social and economic context of the South India fishery. This was implemented as part of a wider DFID-funded project under the Post-Harvest Fisheries Research Programme that was researching possible strategies for providing opportunities for value-addition in fish processing for poor fishers (Impetus Management Services, 1997). The research identified ways in which SIFFS could successfully operate as an ice supplier. This research was commissioned by the fishers, albeit through their association, and represents a Type H form of research. SIFFS has also commissioned studies from other technical expertise in the area of vessel design and construction, and it also now hires research staff under its Research and Development Programme. This represents community-led collaborative research (Type F).

The examples of research given above suggest a diversity of degrees of balance between the relative involvement of formal researchers and community-based researchers. There would appear to be a progressive movement towards greater participation during the life of those projects that have involved some elements of participation at an early stage. The examples also indicates that collaboration is rarely occurring in all stages of the research cycle, it is mainly limited to the implementation of research with some involvement in design and some in interpretation of results. In the examples the role of participation in research as a method of empowerment seems to be limited to those projects that are initiated by the fishers themselves although awareness raising has begun to be a more important element of some externally driven research activities.

5.3 Underlying Motives for Increased Participation in Fisheries Research

Increased participation is now being formalised in some research strategies. Within DFID there has been concern for some time that its research should be not only demand driven but should also, where possible, actively involve the poor in the selection, implementation and validation of research. Whilst some of such research remains at a consultative level, a growing amount is collaborative. DFID's emphasis on the involvement of the poor in the research process, particularly in research agenda setting, stems from a realisation that the active involvement of the poor in the research is more likely to result in workable solutions which are relevant to the needs of the poor and within their capacity to use. For example DFID funded research into the policy process in fisheries has indicated that where the needs, aspirations and capacities of the poor are combined with an understanding of both the livelihood strategies and with approaches which address the multi-sectoral context of their livelihoods, then policies are more likely to be both valid and acceptable (Campbell and Townsley, 1996).

In the main, the motives of donor agencies, governments and research institutions for collaborating with fishers in the research processes tend to be functional (see section 1.3.1). Participation by fishers in research is seen as improving the effectiveness and/or efficiency on the work of the professional research participants. The movement into more participatory research relationships (especially Type B and C) has been particularly developed in the area of aquaculture where the environment can be easily controlled and the farm environment is more closely matched to the research institute environment.

Some researchers have also been motivated by the lack of effectiveness of more formal scientific research approaches to address the complexity of social world/natural world interactions. For example, when considering the appraisal of natural resources Mukherjee (1997:27) has expressed reservations on the formal scientific methods used: "Despite `our' sophisticated techniques of valuation, `our' professional approach faces severe limitations in appraising socio-cultural and ecological dimensions of development projects which are basically context-specific. `Our' experience shows that neglect or understating of such local dimensions in the past have led to high social and ecological costs and serious problems of rehabilitation and compensation. Given the multiple dimensions and complexities involved, appraisal by technical experts most often tend to become reductionist, sophisticated, generalised and devoid of crucial elements which constitute local level `reality'". Certainly in many situations, attempts to develop effective fisheries management systems based solely on externally generated information, have failed. There is now a growing response to combine more formal knowledge of the biology of the resource with indigenous knowledge of the ecology and socio-cultural aspects of the community.

The motives of the fishers to take more collaborative approaches .to research are, at least in part, in response to the speed of change of their circumstances and size of the problems facing them. There is a desire to engage support for overcoming these problems in ways which are quicker than their traditional research methods.

Greater participation in more general development activities has also been helped by a broad movement of awareness raising, confidence building and skill development amongst rural people. There has been a greater involvement of the local people in transferring attitudes, skills and knowledge across and between communities. The success of participation has also been helped by the growth within communities of a sense of group visualisation of problems and possibilities, brought about by the specific methods used, which has promoted greater levels of co-operation in some communities. Furthermore, there has been a conscious shift in the behaviour of those involved in facilitating the participation process to that of equals and partners with the local people within the development process rather than controlling that process (Chambers, 1995).

In some situations there has also been the motivation of empowerment where fishers see collaboration as the route out of the spiral of poverty which sometimes affects them, or where collaboration with external researchers, to provide improved resource management, may lead to a more equitable distribution of benefits. An important consideration here is the extent to which different groups of fishers with different motives are allowed or supported to become involved (see 2.2.2).

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