It started with the inclusion of economic concepts in biological models and reference points for harvest settings (bio economics). Now other concepts from a range of social sciences are entering the field of fisheries research and decision support, not the least of which is the challenge to the very social acceptability of the biological science supporting the management of Australian fisheries. Where will it end? And what led us to these turning points? The FRDC has funded a new Subprogram in Human Dimensions Research for fisheries and aquaculture, and this signals a significant opportunity to tackle some of the big issues where failure to take account of human dimensions, and how they interact with biological and ecological components, can have direct negative consequences for the ecological sustainability of fisheries, broadly defined. These issues include:
- Resource sharing and allocation, where we have a strong body of science knowledge on which to determine how many fish can be sustainably extracted, but a more limited body of knowledge as to what social and economic benefits different groups would derive from catching, or preserving, that fish, and under what conditions.
- Understanding drivers of fisher/industry behaviour, such as when and where to fish, drivers of compliance, and stewardship practices
- The role of fisheries science in influencing the social acceptability of fisheries
This presentation will offer an overview of new developments in human dimensions research for fisheries, and a discussion of the opportunities for adding value to fish and fisheries biological research.