Feedback between fisher local ecological knowledge and scientific epistemologies in England: building bridges for biodiversity conservation

Jeremy Anbleyth-Evans* (Corresponding Author), Shaw Nozaki Lacy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Fisher local ecological knowledge in England has developed through interaction with research, as well as adding to scientific knowledge. Despite this, fishers and scientists continue to have different epistemic frameworks, and the typical form of communication from science to fisheries remains the ‘catapult’ approach, where knowledge exchange is a one-way form of communication. There are opportunities to develop ‘ferries’ and ‘bridges’ across the epistemologies which are explored through the concept of biodiversity. As more fishers have invested in technologies to improve catch efficiency and impacts on habitats, marine governance has slowly evolved to increase research in order to sustain marine resources. However, the benefits of biodiversity are not always well understood in fisheries communities, and how this conceptually relates to their forms of fishing and their interactions with habitats and conservation zones. The paper identifies that the governmental positivist natural capital approach may not be successful in identifying the intrinsic value of biodiversity, as it cannot register intrinsic value because it is not fungible with goods and services. This is particularly important to address in future marine conservation zone workshops. This paper has involved interviews, participant observation of fishers in government workshops and elicitation. It has been identified that the catapult approach remains dominant in government interactions with fishers. The paper shows examples of where social science approaches have been successful for biodiversity. Where fisher LEK is integrated, fishers’ trust in research and governance is increased making for a more active, participatory, marine democracy. Finally, the paper identifies these themes from the case in England to the need to overcome the general negative perception of the accuracy of non-scientist knowledge. There are opportunities to implement this as new policies such as the Fisheries Bill and the 25YEP Defra policy are implemented. This challenge can be observed across the world against holders of LEK in natural resource governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-203
Number of pages15
JournalMaritime Studies
Issue number2
Early online date21 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks to the agency and energy of the people who gave up their time to proof read this article including Dr. Stephen Mangi and Prof. Paul Hart. A special thanks to those fishers who were willing to engage with the research, and those scientists and policy makers who are open to evolving the system. Funding for the original PhD research came from Interreg, through the Geographies of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


Dive into the research topics of 'Feedback between fisher local ecological knowledge and scientific epistemologies in England: building bridges for biodiversity conservation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this