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NAPA Bulletin

Influencing Fisheries Management: Multitasking for Maximum Effectiveness



From the very first drafts of what later became the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the subsequent creation of regional and state counterparts, social science was supposed to play more than a perfunctory role in the nation's fishery management process. But our involvement as social scientists has not been a cakewalk and, although growing, our influence often has been limited at best. This article discusses how we can impact the process by using different styles of involvement and different research methods. Different styles of involvement include teaching, with an emphasis on recruitment of students and colleagues into the effort, along with multidisciplinary team research. This article illustrates how we must be willing to gather information on an opportunistic basis rather than be wedded to any one type of data gathering and analytic strategy as we move from one project to another. We social scientists can be most effective if we are willing to be persistent, flexible but focused, and able to employ a variety of complementary tactics. Along with this we need to find ways to participate in the management process from the inside. We must also establish our work in the fisheries management process as legitimate within our own respective professions. Finally, this article suggests that such a multifaceted strategy can be effective in other areas of policy concern.

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