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Using Collaborative Learning, Cultural Models, and Dialogue to Advance Co-Management Planning of the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Fishery

Michael Paolisso, Principal Investigator
Erve Chambers, Co-Principal Investigator
Amanda Ritchie, Research Coordinator

 

This project convened collaborative learning workshops involving Maryland watermen, natural resource managers and scientists during Fall and Winter 2002/2003.  We conducted these workshops in response to the current controversy over the ecological and economic status of the blue crab fishery.  Yield and population indicators have led marine scientists and natural resource managers to believe that the blue crab population is at dangerously low levels and that reductions in commercial harvesting is key to protecting the blue crab.  Watermen agree that the blue crab fishery is under pressure and see a role for science and regulations in helping to sustain the fishery and their livelihoods, but they question the scientific knowledge and are critical of the governmental regulations. 

For the past two years, we have been working to identify the cultural beliefs, values and knowledge related to the blue crab fishery for watermen, scientists and resource managers.  Watermen, scientists and resource managers have repeatedly expressed to us the need to communicate their interests and have those interests acknowledged.  The Collaborative Learning Project attempts to build on the willingness of watermen, scientists and resource managers to share their beliefs, values and knowledge about the blue crab fishery.  We believe that this process will promote dialogue and expand understanding of other viewpoints, both of which would be beneficial to efforts to promote a sustainable blue crab fishery. 

Funding for this project is provided by the Maryland Sea Grant.

 

University of Maryland | Department of Anthropology | 1111 Woods Hall | College Park, MD 20742