Progress in designing and delivering effective fishing industry-science data collection in the UK
This study was undertaken to address the increasing need for a strategic approach to industry–science data collections in the face of reducing resources and growing need for evidence in fisheries management. The aim was to evaluate progress in the development of plans and procedures that can be employed to collect, record and use fishing industry knowledge and data in the evidence base for managing fisheries. This was achieved by reviewing industry‐led data initiatives already undertaken or ongoing within the United Kingdom to document how these projects have/are incorporating fishing industry data into the process of management decision‐making; canvassing stakeholder opinion on data gaps and whether these could be filled by data gathered by commercial fishing vessels; establishing what issues might prevent or stimulate commercial fishing vessels in collecting data when they have the opportunity; and describing guidance on a step‐by‐step process for gathering scientific information such that fishers are empowered to collect the right data, at the right times and in the right format for their fishery. Given recent advances in the collection, interpretation and application of fisheries‐dependent data, we compare progress made in the UK to other areas of the world. We conclude that there is considerable evidence of a paradigm shift from the conventional practice of scientists asking fishers to provide data for scientific analyses towards full engagement of key stakeholders in data collection.