By Theodora Sam,
This year I joined the 9th MARE conference, which is a conference held bi-annually always in the city of Amsterdam, at the University of Amsterdam, Roeterseiland campus. The conference provides a platform for researchers, policymakers, organizations, and others interested in the management of marine resources to meet and discuss interdisciplinary social science research and approaches to addressing societal challenges. The Maritime Studies (MAST) Journal is a product from the MARE conference. This is an international, open access, peer-reviewed open journal on social dimensions of coastal and marine issues throughout the world.
As part of the conference, there is usually a day devoted to policy named “the policy day” This year the policy day was held on the 04.07.2017 with the theme “stakeholder participation in marine management: connecting practice with theory”. The discussions focused on the fact that stakeholder participation is an attitude towards making and taking decisions. One key point presented was expectations from the new Common Fisheries Policy Reform for 2022, as the discussions for its development starts in 2018.
The conference officially started on 05.07.2017, the theme was “Maritime mobilities: opening people and the sea”. The most intriguing presentation for me was a keynote presentation (by Christina Stringer) on the topic “Turbulent waters: Modern slavery in the fishing industry”. This was a presentation on a research conducted in New Zealand fishing industry. The issue of the lack of consumer’s knowledge on fisheries was clearly highlighted as one of the conclusions of the research and a contributing factor to slavery existing in fisheries. This conclusion connects to my own PhD research, where I am developing a framework to explore the mental models the public have about fisheries as social-ecological systems (SESs).
The MARE conference is indeed the meeting place for interdisciplinary marine resource management scientists. I had the opportunity to meet top scientists, such as Dr. Anthony Charles, whose framework fishery system framework is my inspiration in the elicitation of the mental models about fisheries. I had a fruitful time in Amsterdam!