Key characteristics of successful fisheries learning exchanges


This study examines the key characteristics of successful fisheries learning exchanges (FLEs). FLEs are peer-to-peer gatherings in which fishery stakeholders from different communities freely exchange information and experiences surrounding fisheries challenges and solutions. They are usually organized by fishers, non-governmental organizations and governments and are credited as an integral tool for the diffusion and adoption of fisheries management strategies. Despite their numerous perceived benefits within fisheries conservation and management, little research has been conducted on FLEs. This multiple case study addressed the research question: “What are the key characteristics of successful FLEs?” Success metrics were defined during a workshop on FLEs in 2013. For this study, the authors selected six successful FLEs that were presented during the workshop. Documentation of FLEs and key informant interviews with participants and organizers were used as data. The following key elements of successful FLEs emerged from analyses: (1) a clear guiding purpose and flexible objectives, (2) careful and considered selection of participants with diverse professions and conservation beliefs, (3) a mix of activities including giving presentations, conducting site visits, talking with local fishers, spending time on boats or in the water, and participating in cultural activities, and (4) logistical and financial follow-up support, including information dissemination about what participants learned at the FLE. Based on these results, the authors provide recommendations for conducting successful FLEs.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Katie R. Thompson
William D. Heyman
S. Hoyt Peckham, SmartFish and Center for Ocean Solutions
Marine Policy