TitleFiguring Out the Human Dimensions of Fisheries: Illuminating Models
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsConway, FDL, Hall-Arber, M, Pomeroy, C
Journalfidm Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science
Pagination300 - 314
Date Published2009
ISBN Number1942-5120

Both natural scientists and economists commonly use quantitative data to create models of the systems that interest them and then use these models to inform fisheries management. Other social scientists rely on lengthier, descriptive texts based primarily on qualitative data to assess the human dimensions. To their dismay, fisheries social scientists find that much of their rich narrative with keen insights ends up filling pages that are neither read nor meaningfully integrated into decision-making in fisheries management. Nevertheless, what all scientists, practitioners, and managers want and need is information that will lead to a better understanding of the ecosystem (comprised of interdependent ecological and human systems) and therefore to fisheries management that benefits the whole system. Based on the belief that only a combination of high-quality quantitative and qualitative data will provide both the numbers and the context needed for success in ecosystem-based management, we discuss efforts to present social and cultural information in forms that are more familiar to those who rely on models for a representation of reality in the fisheries context. We point out how the designers of these models (or how we) think the models might be applied to fisheries management, noting how each model attempts to incorporate qualitative data to depict context essential for grounding the more commonly used biological and economic models. We also assess the benefits and limitations of these models, including the constraints on their development and use.