Fishers - strategies and choices: feasibility study

This social research publication explores what influences the decision making of Scottish fishers. It presents findings from twelve interviews with fishers. The main findings are focused on the social, economic, governance, and environmental drivers in fishers’ decision making.

7. Methodological insights

The results of this pilot study showed how different drivers influence fishers’ decision making. It is recommended that this pilot study’s methodology is repeated on a larger scale in future to obtain more representative results. If a wider study was to be repeated there are some key learning points that could be considered.

Guided interviews take long time to complete, and in the future, more time needs to be allocated for this method. It took a considerable amount of time to secure the interviews and engage with participants beforehand to raise interest in the research project. Future research can be promoted by:

  • attending association and federation meetings;
  • attending Regional Inshore Fisheries Group (RIFG) meetings;
  • using local Fishery Offices around the coast to disseminate information;
  • exploring opportunities to speak to fishers (e.g. Aberdeen Fishing Expo);
  • doing field research and engaging fishers on the ground.

The interview guide was a helpful tool and with some amendments it can become a good template for future work. For example, separate questions relating to temporal decisions (daily, 3-monthly, annual) were not clear. These questions need to be reviewed for future research. Some new questions (e.g. on climate change) could be added.

It would also be interesting to not only look at the pressures which impact on the fishing industry but also explore the positive aspects and opportunities that are available.

Most of the interviews were carried out using video calling and this seemed to be the preferred option for the majority of fishers. Given that the interviews were carried out by a single interviewer, the recording was important to ensure that all of the discussion was captured, and the transcript are as accurate as possible. All respondents were happy to allow recording on the basis that it was only available for the purposes of taking notes and then deleted.



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