Cooperative research, the active participation of industry in scientific research, is receiving increased attention as an alternative to traditional government-sponsored methods. Its strongest attributes are its potential to improve spatial and temporal collection of fishery data while reducing some research costs. Despite these potential benefits, there are obstacles to adopting cooperative research on a large scale including concerns about biased data, continuity with current data regimes, and the motivations of the participants. Acknowledging these limitations, this research examines the factors that influence industry's willingness to participate in cooperative research with fishery scientists. During summer 1998, scientists and fishermen in the U.S. West Coast groundfish fishery participated in a mail survey that asked respondents to assess several potential cooperative research projects on the basis of their perceived costs and benefits. Scientists and fishermen differed most strongly on “observer programs” and “interviewing fishermen to gather qualitative data.” The survey also included hypothetical scenarios where fishing vessels would be chartered for research. Fishermen assigned a "desirability" score and "willingness to supply" their vessel for research as a function of varying levels of compensation, days at sea, consultation into the design and conduct of the research, and other factors. Based on a utility of profit supply model, results were analyzed using ordinary least squares. Compensation and skipper consultation had the largest effect on the charter's desirability and respondents' willingness to supply. Age, education, and gear type also significantly affected fishermen's willingness to participate in the charters. These results suggest significant problems in the manner in which scientists and industry relate. Addressing these problems will require developing institutions with appropriate incentives that emphasize "win-win" scenarios for both groups.
Harms, J. and G. Sylvia. The Economics of Cooperative Fishery Research: A Survey of U.S. West Coast Groundfish Industry and Scientists. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.