“Making Marine Science Matter”



This past August 14th to 18th, 2014, the Gulf of California Marine Program (Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, Catalina López-Sagástegui and myself) participated at the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress in Glasgow, Scotland. The congress theme was “Making Marine Science Matter” and it was organized around specific topics of interest for marine conservation in general, as well as the local area, Scotland (http://www.conbio.org/mini-sites/imcc-2014/about-the-meeting/congress-theme). More than thousand researchers, conservationist and advocates participated actively during those four days. We met new researchers and how this community is working towards new ways (braking paradigms) of conservation and management, but also we had the opportunity to meet with old friends and colleagues that are now dispersed around the world.

“Complementing MPAs in the management of small-scale fisheries: Other tools and approaches” was the theme of a focus group organized by Jennifer Selgrath and Kyle Gillespie, and to which I was invited. This forum focused on topics related to effective approaches for management and conservation in small-scale fisheries. The main goal was to give practitioners an opportunity to share their “successful – and unsuccessful, but insightful – experiences” about their research (or work) related to coastal and marine conservation in the context of small-scale fisheries management for managers, policy-makers, and scientists. After the presentations, a discussion session was held to talk to a panel of scientists about tools and processes in different communities or MPAs (i.e., what’s our approach and what –if any – successes have come out). The main idea was to discuss these alternative approaches to MPAs that might complement and support the scattered efforts to implement “other” management measures.

For about two hours, we exchanged ideas, thoughts and experiences with other scientists working in countries from four continents. It was a rich and insightful experience to understand how for most of the projects and initiatives, one of the most important first steps is the understanding of the context as a whole (ecological, social, cultural and political processes) in every community or communities that are geographically embraced by MPA´s or other forms of management. The second most important aspect of success in every initiative, among those involved in the discussion, was to include an objective in the project related to knowledge transfer and, traditional, local and ecological knowledge – if applicable – to the baseline. This included participative processes where potentially, the community could become part of the research or part of the implementation process of the program or project. A third, and not less important, aspect was the willingness of the scientists of become knowledgeable about the community of interest in terms of its values towards their environment, culture and traditions not only in a general way but also specifically towards fishing. Even though the concept of “traditional or historical fishing practices” does not apply for all communities, as scientist, we need to become aware of their livelihoods and sustainability of their societies; it is our endeavor as human beings.

I think this experience has giving us the opportunity as a group, to approach other great groups working with a shared mission: “… work and address the overwhelming need for connecting end-users and build capacity of the scientific community to ensure effective coastal and ocean management and policy.” Fulfilling this mission will require a lot of effort from the scientific community and the in-depth understanding of our world’s biodiversity patterns and their connection with our small-scale fishing communities. After all, I want to believe we all want the same thing: “safe places to live, work and play, clean spaces and sustainable, long-lasting communities.”

Thanks again to all the committee from IMCC, and also to Jenny and Kyle for organizing this great workshop.


Colaboradores de antaño en IMCC3

photo (2)

Marcia Moreno-Baez y Catalina López-Sagástegui




Marcia Moreno-Báez Bio:

My research interests are centered on place-based and ecosystem approaches towards research and management of natural resources. More specifically, I am interested in the study of the spatial and temporal dimension of fisheries looking through the lens of human-environment interactions. I have worked mainly in participatory processes using cooperative and collaborative research at different levels and with different sectors. As a researcher, my goal is to be a knowledge broker between research, technology and practice in conservation and natural resources management. Hence, my mission is facilitating the practical use of natural resources, science and technology, and helping meet the growing demand for a spatially explicit planning in fisheries management.

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