project convened collaborative learning workshops involving Maryland
watermen, natural resource managers and scientists during Fall and
Winter 2002/2003. We conducted these workshops in response to
the current controversy over the ecological and economic status of
the blue crab fishery. Yield and population indicators have
led marine scientists and natural resource managers to believe that
the blue crab population is at dangerously low levels and that reductions
in commercial harvesting is key to protecting the blue crab.
Watermen agree that the blue crab fishery is under pressure and see
a role for science and regulations in helping to sustain the fishery
and their livelihoods, but they question the scientific knowledge
and are critical of the governmental regulations.
the past two years, we have been working to identify the cultural
beliefs, values and knowledge related to the blue crab fishery for
watermen, scientists and resource managers. Watermen, scientists
and resource managers have repeatedly expressed to us the need to
communicate their interests and have those interests acknowledged.
The Collaborative Learning Project attempts to build on the willingness
of watermen, scientists and resource managers to share their beliefs,
values and knowledge about the blue crab fishery. We believe
that this process will promote dialogue and expand understanding of
other viewpoints, both of which would be beneficial to efforts to
promote a sustainable blue crab fishery.
for this project is provided by the Maryland Sea Grant.