Mapping the climate services sector in Australia
Rebecca Cunningham, Geoff Gooley, Neil Plummer, Kevin Hennessy, Roger Street, Rebecca GregoryManaging fisheries is ultimately an issue of understanding and working with different personalities and types of human behaviours. In 2017, Fisheries Queensland, Australia (FQ) released a 10 year reform strategy for managing fisheries along the Queensland coastal, inland waters, and the Gulf of Carpentaria. This reform included legislative changes that would have a significant impact on the operations of Professional Fishers and Stakeholders (PFS) across Queensland. Changes included modifying annual season timings, commercial catch limits, vessel tracking processes and more. The goals of the legislative shift were to rebuild stocks and increase bio-mass levels. Initial feedback to these changes was predominantly negative.
Fisheries Queensland wanted to understand how they were perceived by their sector and to improve engagement and subsequently compliance. As such the project team were commissioned to undertake a research project to understand the historical factors that led to the current status of engagement between FQ and Queensland PFS. During this process 59 semi-structured interviews were held with PFS and a survey to 154 stakeholders was distributed across the state. This sample was derived through a combination of face-to-face interviews in 6 regional areas with a concentration of license holders across fishery types, with phone based interviews and an online survey. This provided a sample that was considered to be representative across different regions, different fisheries, and different links in the value chain (i.e. harvest, processing, wholesale).
The findings demonstrated two important stakeholder factors contributed to the current state of engagement: firstly the “types” of professional fishers and stakeholders (PFS) and secondly the network structure. Developing stakeholder “types” or a typology allowed for categories of stakeholders to be identified that FQ would need to engage. Further, the process classified different engagement strategies for these various groups. The typology highlighted two major groups of PFS (Group A and B), organised around three categories: Highly engaged, transactional, and disengaged.
The network analysis focused on two networks: 1) between the Queensland Professional Fishers and Stakeholders (PFS) and Fisheries Queensland (FQ), 2) PFS network. The network maps emphasised the critical role of the government appointed Working Groups as well as individual FQ staff who operate as knowledge brokers between different stakeholder groups. Findings also demonstrate that post-harvest stakeholders play a bridging role within the supply chain. Within the network there were isolated cliques that did not engage with the main component (including government), yet maintained their own communication channels. The network emphasised the challenge of geographical distance and centralised governance as the sector is geographically dispersed (along 7,000km of shoreline) and government located primarily in the south east. This is compounded when government communication is online, while much of the PFS sector prefers to use offline communication channels. Recommendations included utilising the key actors within the formal network structure and to engage additional informal knowledge brokers along the supply chain (such as post-harvest operators) for tailoring and disseminating future engagement strategies.