Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
Currently available communication studies within fisheries politics largely concern communication between scientists and decision makers, to some extent stakeholders and decision makers, but seldom merely fishermen and scientists. This thesis attempts to discuss the relationship between fishermen and scientists in Sweden, on a more local level. This is carried out through the analysis of the possible barriers blocking communication at the higher levels of the fisheries hierarchy, together with the implication of these barriers on whether fishermen find fisheries policies legitimate or not. The empirical data in this thesis is based upon face-to-face interviews, with four fishermen and four scientists concerning their involvement in communication with the opposite group. The results from these interviews are analysed through the use of a framework resting upon the basis of environmental governance, marine governance and risk communication theory. Within this theoretical base, legitimacy will be used as a central concept. As a part of the theoretical framework, communication barriers indicating a cultural difference will also be examined. In the analysis section of this thesis, indications of several communication barriers are discussed along with the respective potential effects of these barriers on the acceptance of science and the legitimacy of fisheries policies. It was found that in terms of detecting the main functions of risk communication, the lack of a structure for communication between fishermen and scientists may be holding back the full potential of communication between the two groups. The cultural differences spotted in the data are, as far as this study shows, inconclusive and do not seem severe enough to set up any potential communication barriers. Instead, this study did find four major communication barriers: media polarisation; several differing opinions within the Swedish fisheries sector; hierarchy and a lack of a communicational structure between fishermen and scientists. Although all of these communication barriers are seen as risks to legitimacy, the most significant risk appears to be lowered legitimacy due to the difference between experience-based knowledge and research-based knowledge. It is believed that a more structured communication together with cooperative research and / or cooperative management would be able to mend these barriers.Keywords: Cultural barriers, Communication barriers, Media polarisation and Knowledge bases.
2012. , 50 p.