Sharing is caring: IPNLF launches new knowledge exchange guidelines

Learn from CSIRO Fisheries Scientist Craig Proctor and IPNLF’s Communications Manager, Juliette Tunstall, why knowledge sharing among fisheries is key to meeting international standards for safety, sustainability and quality

From the very beginnings of our existence, the benefits of knowledge sharing have been extremely prominent in fisheries. From fisher to fisher, older generation to younger generation, community to community, or company to company – the transfer of skills, techniques and experience has been fundamental to addressing problems and expanding harvest success. In one-by-one tuna fisheries, the impact of knowledge sharing is evident; even fisheries that are oceans apart demonstrate similar techniques and practises, that have been shared over time.

Today, the need for promoting and facilitating knowledge sharing in fishing technologies and fisheries practices still persists, with a new emphasis on the importance of sharing best-practice to improve sustainability, traceability and quality – in line with market demands. Acknowledging this, IPNLF’s Scientific & Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) identified the need for a set of guidelines to support fisheries stakeholders that are looking to develop such an initiative, to ensure the most effective approach is taken. Craig and Juliette took up the mantle, co-authoring IPNLF’s latest publication and fisheries tool, Guidelines for Improving Knowledge Sharing Among Fishers.

The aim of the guidelines is to provide a valuable tool for fisheries globally that want to share or acquire skills and expertise to improve their practices. The document highlights six key steps that should be considered in order for a knowledge sharing initiative to be as successful as possible. The document also includes a case study that demonstrates how IPNLF has actively taken the principles within these guidelines and applied them in the field.

Although the objectives and outcomes of IPNLF’s activities with one-by-one fisheries invariably have different focuses, a common theme is knowledge sharing. Some examples of IPNLF initiatives that have knowledge sharing front and centre include the Training of Trainers initiative in Maldives and Indonesia; the USA-Maldives fisher exchange programme; the Fishermen’s Community & Training Centre; the fisher quality and traceability workshop in St Helena; and the world’s first One-by-One Tuna Fisheries Conference. Such initiatives demonstrate the impacts that can be achieved when different groups put their heads together, and so we hope that these guidelines will go a long way to enabling similar projects in other fisheries to reap the same benefits.

Our thanks go to the rest of IPNLF’s Scientific & Technical Advisory Committee for providing input, and to David Itano for reviewing and editing earlier versions of the Guidelines.