SAF21 Early Career Researchers

Cezara Păstrăv
Cezara PăstrăvThe role of social institutions in achieving resilient resolutions to conflicts over (transboundary) shared fishing resources
Resolving conflicts over shared resources will become more and more relevant in the context of climate change, which has lead, and will continue to lead, to changes in behaviour patterns and geographic distribution of fish and other marine animals of interest to the fishing industry, thus rendering current agreements over the exploitation of shared stocks obsolete, and creating the need for new negotiations and new resolutions.

Social institutions (and other social aspects) play an important role in many conflict resolution situations, but social aspects are difficult, if not outright impossible, to model via mathematical methods due to the complexity they create. At the same time, experimenting with the system itself is both impractical and unethical, as well as being nearly impossible. Thus, the most suitable alternative left would be agent-based models, which have been used to model a variety of systems involving social behaviour, including conflicts, social institutions, social networks, markets, cooperation, competition, emergence of social structures etc.

The research will focus on developing agent-based models that can be used to study aspects related to the social institutions involved conflicts over fishing resources, and serve as a decision support framework for the parties responsible for devising strategies and policies that would bring about their resolution. The aim of the models is to simulate a variety of international conflicts involving marine resources. Special emphasis is placed on the role social institutions play in the rise and resolution of these conflicts. The purpose of the simulations is to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of such conflicts, as well as which resolution strategies are feasible, sustainable and/or resilient given the context of the conflict.

Charlotte T. Weber
Charlotte T. WeberMulti aspect simulation of the complex socio-ecological system of the EU fisheries
For the understanding of high complexity environments such as the EU fisheries, modelling and simulation provide an important tool towards an integrative science for resilience and sustainability in systems with intertwined ecological and social dynamics. Yet there is still a growing need for integrating social aspects as they need to be analyzed and understood and to be incorporated into fisheries policies.

Therefore, in this project, integrated modelling methods will be evaluated and reviewed to determine to what extend fisheries models have been integrating social science aspects so far. Relevant social indicators for the EU fisheries system will be identified and developed. A holistic fisheries model will be established, integrating socio-ecological and economic factors alike. The model will identify the effects of changing management regimes on the fishery system as a whole, and is meant to serve as a decision support tool for fishery policy and decision makers.

Ixai Salvo Borda
Ixai Salvo BordaMeasuring governance and stakeholder’s interactions in fisheries management
As part of the SAF21 project of the European Union, I work with fisheries governance and stakeholders´ interactions. The intention of this project is the integration of social and governance metrics, for measuring the performance of socio-ecological systems through a structured multidisciplinary dialogue, to achieve a general overview of how the governance is applied and perform inside a fishery. The main research questions is: It is possible to measure fisheries governance?

The project aims to create a tool for the measurement of fisheries governance in a simple and useful way to be used all around the world. This measurement of the fisheries governance will be done through the development of social and governability fishery indicators. Linked to this path, the project involves an analysis of different kind of interactions that stakeholders have in different management

As I am based in the CETMAR Foundation in Vigo, will first try my tool in Galician fisheries and afterwards spread the system around the EU and who knows, in the world? I studied Environmental Biology, specialized in Marine Biology before moving to the Arctic University of Norway to study the International Fisheries Management master. After working as an onboard fisheries researcher for one year, I started my PhD as part of the SAF21 project in the research center CETMAR and in the Campus Do*Mar (University of Vigo).

Kristinn Edvardsson
Kristinn EdvardssonTemporal modelling of the changing Icelandic fisheries communities: A study of the relations between policy and socioeconomic resilience using GIS and agent-based modelling
The aim of the project is to study and model the socio-economic development of the Icelandic fishing communities under the current individual transferable quota (ITQ) system. The workflow is currently divided into two parts:

The first part involves collecting spatio-temporal datasets related to Icelandic fishing communities and fishing industry. The datasets consist of demographic data, quota allocations, number of registered boats and companies in each community by year. The datasets will be organized into a database aptly named “The FishGIS database” and will be organised by year according to their physical locations. The database in itself presents a unique tool for empirical and spatial analysis on a wide range of topics, most importantly how fisheries management policy can impact the fishing industry and the communities which rely upon it. The method of exploratory spatial analysis will be applied to the data in search for such patterns which will then be used later on in the second part of the project.

The second part of the project uses the results of the initial GIS analysis along with FishGIS datasets as inputs for an agent-based model of the whole fisheries system of Iceland. The agent-based model (ABM) focuses on simulating the effects of fishing policy on the Icelandic coastal communities and will be implemented in the Unity3D game engine. Unity3d has been selected as the modelling software to allow increasing visualisation of the model and easier communication to stakeholders, policymakers, educators and the general audience.

By combining GIS and ABM we have a unique tool to analyse the impact of fisheries policy on the societies who rely on it and the Icelandic case presents us with the opportunity to study a whole country. This is indeed possible due to the low population of Iceland, availability of data and the countries isolation. The expected results give us a good insight into why some fishing communities have been more resilient through the changes the ITQ have brought with it. What are the social costs / gains to the increased efficiency of the ITQ system? Lastly we wish to address the question is there any other way than ITQ which might yield a better outcome for fishing communities than ITQ´s.

Lia ní Aodha
Lia ní AodhaSimplifications, Complexity and inherent Contradictions: European Fisheries Policy and local level outcomes. Ireland and the most recent revision of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Despite much attention, global environmental ‘crises’ have accelerated, rather than dissipated, over the past number of decades. A similar pattern can be observed in fisheries, where after three decades (and counting) of ‘management’ and ‘enclosures’, cries as to the ecological degradation of our oceans have grown louder. Along with the continuing ecological challenges highlighted in relation to fisheries, many of the ‘solutions’ put forth to mitigating these, have resulted in ‘unintended’ social outcomes. They have come at a considerable cost to fishermen and women, their livelihoods, their families and their communities – resource users have been marginalised, small players side-lined, and communities decimated, while all the while the ecological degradation of the resource has continued.

How we conceive of a problem matters, and delimits the range of solutions open to dealing with it. However, many of the narratives surrounding these issues are quite reductive. Furthermore, the locus of these narratives has become increasingly diverse. Both of these raise multiple questions in relation to the enterprise of fisheries management itself, and that which feeds into it – in terms of efficacy, and legitimacy.

Considering this, this research poses questions in relation to the most recent revision of the Common Fisheries Policy, and its implementation in Ireland. It places both the policy itself (along with the “policy making” surrounding it), and the local levels outcomes at the heart of the investigation, posing questions in relation to both.

Luz Karime Molina
Luz Karime MolinaPublic Engagement through Fisheries Visualization
The wealth of data regarding marine aquatic ecosystems is vast and complex. News is the predominant source of information regarding fisheries systems that are accessible to the public. Research material is accessible online, but scientists are the main target of reports. These studies include data on physiology, ecology, geography, policy and management from several years. The amount of data is so large, that sometimes even researchers have a hard time grasping the key elements of it.

Through visualizations, I will facilitate the understanding of fisheries data and present it to the public. I will also focus on identifying effective methods for the computational presentation of complex models for scientists. As part of a multidisciplinary team like SAF21, I will collaborate with other SAF21 members and create visualizations regarding their current projects.

The methods for showing these visualizations will be social media, websites and different displays at aquariums and museums. The propose of these exhibits will be to reach as many people as possible, quantify if these visualizations are connecting with the viewers, and measure if they are inviting the public to look deeper into fisheries issues. Furthermore, I will assess which visualizations or topics are more conducive to attract the interest from viewers.

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Rannvá Danielsen
Rannvá DanielsenEvaluating the socio-economic performance of fisheries in the North Atlantic
Many of the world’s fisheries are mismanaged. This can lead to overexploited fish stocks, poor economic results, and low-income jobs. However, the success of many fisheries is only evaluated in terms of biological sustainability – i.e. are the fish stocks healthy – even though we know that fisheries are a hugely important source of jobs and revenue in many communities around the globe.

This project seeks to evaluate the socio-economic performance of the fishing industry in the Faroe Islands, a country heavily dependent on fisheries. A statistical analysis will test the relationship between indicators such as economic performance, employment numbers, wages, fish stock sizes and fishing pressure. The purpose is to determine if biological sustainability leads to better socio-economic outcomes or if poor biological sustainability perhaps leads to poor socio-economic outcomes. Using the results of this analysis, a review of Faroese fisheries management over the last 30 years will be done in collaboration with stakeholders. The purpose is to determine what could have been done better in the past and how to improve management in future, e.g. by asking how stakeholders prefer to solve crises.

Samaneh Heidari
Samaneh HeidariNorms in social simulations
Utilizing the use of natural renewable resources is one of the important concerns in the field of fishery management. Therefore, policy makers want to take into account the social structure as one of the significant effective issues. Fishery industry can be considered as a complex-socio-ecological model in which social aspects (e.g. social norms and culture) of the system can play an important role and impose effects on other elements.

The feedbacks that fishers get from the environment (other fishers, buyers/sellers, ecosystem, etc) have a big impact on their future decisions and actions. These feedbacks can be considered as social norms, and, it can change social norms as well. Social norms can regulate and direct people‘s behavior. Let‘s give an example. It is obvious that fishers want to earn more money by catching more fishes (consider fishing as a job; it this is only way for fishers to earn income). This could be harmful to the environment or could be not; depends on the methods of fishing, the maximum possible amount of caught fish, the maximum possible depth that fishers can do fishing, and so no. Advancement in technology offers a new boat which seems nice to fishers. When a fisherman buys this modern boat, although, buying a new boat is expensive, other fishers start buying it as well. When the modern boat to be used widely, there will be many changes, such as a number of working people on boats, a number of species that could be caught, etc. Using this boat, fishers are able to catch more fish, go to farther areas which were not accessible before, do fishing in the greater depth, sustain fish in the boats for the longer time and, therefore, stay at sea for a longer time than before, so on. In this simple example, you can see how norms which seem unimportant could have such diverse effects.

In this project, we will try to combine ecological and social models in one model that can support the policy making in fishery management to make more efficient decisions and adopt more fair policies. To do so, we develop agent-based social simulations to take into consideration social norms and values which have effects on the ecosystem.

Shaheen Syed
Shaheen SyedText Analytics for the 21st Century Fisheries
Since the 90s, it has been well-known that unstructured and semi-structured data constitute up to 90% of an organization’s data volume. The unprecedented growth of the Web and social media since then has only further increased the relative amount of unstructured and semi-structured data.

A great way to analyze this largely unstructured textual data is text analytics. Techniques such as sentiment analysis and named entity recognition are heavily being used in all sorts of research institutions and private companies. It enables the extraction of opinions on a given subject, creates structured data from unstructured data, uncovers other types of potential wealth and a lot more. It is a relatively new field of study and some amazing insights have already been found in e.g. Economics or Biology once they adopted text analytics.

My Ph.D. research is aimed at implementing text analytics techniques into the fisheries domain as a whole. That is, we are investigating to what extent text analytics can be applied within the fisheries domain to gain more in-depth knowledge about fisheries and its e.g. stakeholders by utilizing quantitative computer science text mining techniques such as natural language processing and machine learning. A high degree of emphasis is placed on the investigation of different methods belonging to the same technique. This makes the various studies somewhat more explorative. However, some emphasis is placed on the predictive power of text analytics for the fisheries domain in the final stages of this Ph.D.

Theodora Sam
Theodora SamConceptualization of marine fisheries literacy
The problems of fisheries (such as over-fishing, discards, marine habitat pollution, and by-catch, among others) are a threat to fisheries sustainability. Understanding of fisheries as a socio-ecological complex adaptive system and an understanding of the relationship and interdependencies between the different components of the system (fish stocks, fishing gear, fishers’ behaviour etc.) will give the different fisheries stakeholders (e.g. the general public, policy makers, scientists in multi- and interdisciplinary research teams etc.) the tools needed to take action in solving the problems and ensure sustainable fisheries.

The benefits of fisheries are not only about the fish providing us with nutrition but they go far beyond this. Fisheries provide livelihood to families in the coastal community, employment opportunities, preservation of culture and history. Fisheries provide revenue in terms of exporting of fish and other fish by-products, which are used for socio-economic developments. Fisheries literate citizens seem to be an important factor in achieving sustainability in fisheries. The main goal of my research is the conceptualization of fisheries literacy in Europe in the broad context of ocean literacy. Among my research objectives are to define fisheries literacy as one aspect of ocean literacy; to define a framework of fisheries literacy assessment; to evaluate fisheries literacy of the European public; to identify efficient tools for facilitating behavioural change in connection with fisheries literacy activities.

Alexander Holdgate
Alexander HoldgateSAF21 Intern
As a student of marine biology and oceanography, I have been made aware of the damaging effects poor marine resource management has had on marine environments globally.Intense degradation of marine environments and the permanent altering of marine food web dynamics are particularly visible in cases of short sighted fisheries management schemes that have lead to undesirable outcomes such as overfishing, discards and the fishing down of marine ecosystems.
The need for stakeholders to invest in high quality, multidisciplinary research to better understand the drivers and features of complex socio-ecological systems such as fisheries will be of fundamental importance as the global demand for aquatic products increases beyond the sustainable yields of marine ecosystems.

As such, over the course of my internship with SAF21 I hope to increase my understanding of the socio-economic issues surrounding fisheries. In doing so, I hope to contribute to the development of interdisciplinary scientific research that forms the basis of sound management schemes, helping to increase the ability of marine ecosystems to produce biologically, socially, and economically sustainable benefits long into the future.