Soomai, S. (2009). Information and Influence in Fisheries Management: A Case Study of the Shrimp and Groundfish Resources in the Brazil-Guianas Continental Shelf. Proceedings of the 62nd Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, November 2 – 6, 2009, Cumana, Venezuela. (Span & Eng) GCFI (62), p555
Scientific information on the shrimp and groundfish resources of the Brazil-Guianas Continental Shelf has been produced over the years by intergovernmental advisory agencies such as the Food and Agricuture Organisation (FAO) and Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) in collaboration with the national fisheries management agencies. In spite of the availability of information, there is limited evidence that it is being used in management. The opportunities and barriers for using information to manage this Caribbean fishery were examined using a survey questionnaire directed at five key groups in Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela: fishing industry, scientists, fisheries managers, policy makers, and fishery advisory bodies. Content analysis of the stakeholder roles in the creation, distribution, and use of scientific information was used to provide insights into the reasons for the frequent lack of uptake of management advice. Results were primarily for Trinidad and Tobago and show that assessments were driven largely by local scientists and advisory bodies. Publications have increased the knowledge base and strengthened technical capabilities. Advances in digital technology have made information more accessible to users. The lack of less technical and tailored information has, however, affected its usefulness to some stakeholders. There was also no formal system for measuring the use and influence of information in decision making. More efficient communication strategies and streamlining scientific information with policy may increase the use and influence of information. Partnerships and education to encourage stakeholder involvement can increase influence of information.