fishermen,  Fulbright,  Rachel,  Research,  Traveling

Last workshops have been finished!

The distance between Santa Barbara and San Diego is 346 km/215 miles – and it is supposed to take 3 hours and 45 minutes. Our trip down took almost 8 hours and the trip back was 6,5 hours. Hurrah for California tarffic jams!

So – on Friday June 8th 2012 I finished up my data-gathering in Southern California with interviews in San Diego, California!

I first had a workshop with the Fishermens Working Group in San Diego — –  represented by the President and the Vice President of the organization! We met at Starbucks near the harbor and talked for 4 hours, creating systems thinking conceptuatlizataion diagram and bayesian influence diagrams and conditional probability tables – it was so interesting and exciting and exhausing. The two participants were both also Sea Urchin Divers out of San Diego: – which made for a new and exciting group since I have so far not interviewed anyone of that profession!

What was interesting was that for the first time, the fishermen did NOT put Income/Profit as their main consern – but PRESERVING THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF FISHING COMMUNITIES! Now that was new – and it took us a bit of discussing afterwards to find a hypothesis about why – but we figured it out in the end 🙂 The other three groups were in small communities that to an extent already encompass their cultural identity, with a working harbor, and selling from the docks and the boats of fresh fish daily. San Diego is a multi million population city, with influences from all over the world – and with a small group of fishermen. They are losing their cultural identity so fast, they are desperate to hang on to it – and they feel that offshore aquacutlure will only help move them towards this loos. Interesing… More on this in an upcoming paper 🙂

My friend here at Bren who has been helping me out with almost all of my research, Rebecca Gentry (PhD student at Bren) was also there, and she is now so in tune with both me and the methods we use that she practically makes the Vensim diagram without looking at my notes any more – she just uses them for cross checking afterwards. She is a treasure for the project, and I never would have been able to get the results we have without her!

Afterwards, I was fortunately not even near done – since I had an interview with Mark Drawbridge from the Aquaculture Program at Hubbs Sea World – the only organization/company to actually have attempted offshore aquacutlure in California, and hte only one to have working hatcheries already! They are going to be at the forefront of the industry once regulation is in place! I had a long chat with Mr. Drawbridge, learning much about the regulatory issues hindering the establishment of the industry and also learning about their perceptions of what future conflicts may arise between stakeholders.

It was a great trip to San Diego – I would have loved to meet even more fishermen and to possibly done a systems thinking/bayesian belief network workshop with a group of researchers from Hubbs as well (I have already done those at Bren/MSI). But I will leave that for the future 🙂

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