Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Taylor Goelz, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA
Background: Reduction in catch of the Eastern oyster, Crassotrea virginicain Maryland’s Choptank River over decades has exacerbated differences between stakeholder groups surrounding management objectives. The 5YR OysterFutures project engages stakeholders in a participatory process using professionally facilitated meetings and biological and socio-economic models to develop management recommendations for the Choptank – two workshops have occurred to date, with a third and fourth scheduled before the AAAS meeting. Further, this project aims to study the process and stakeholders themselves, including changes in the social networks and attitudes towards the salience, credibility and legitimacy of local ecological knowledge (LEK), science, and models. The poster reports the LEK findings that could in particular improve participatory modeling processes for natural resource management. Methods: Questionnaires distributed at every OysterFutures workshop record social networks and attitudes toward LEK. Semi-structured interviews, workshop observations, and media content analysis are also conducted to assess stakeholder views about oyster science, LEK, modeling, and management. Social network questions (i.e., communication frequency and level of mutual understanding between stakeholders) were evaluated using UCINet6 and NetDraw to determine visual and statistical trends in networks and attitudes. For this poster, attitudes towards the salience, credibility and legitimacy of LEK (measured by usefulness, accuracy, reliability, fairness of LEK) were statistically compared over time. Results: Preliminary results at meeting one show a statistically significant difference between scientists and watermen on questions regarding usefulness (p = 0.03), accuracy (p= 0.02), reliability (p = 0.006), and fairness (p = 0.01) of LEK for oyster management. No statistically significant difference was found between any other stakeholder groups for meeting one or two. At meeting two, LEK reliability and LEK accuracy showed no statistically significant difference between scientists and watermen (all p > 0.05). Marginally statistically significant differences continue for usefulness (p = 0.05) and fairness of LEK (p = 0.05). Conclusions: In meeting 1, scientists and watermen held different attitudes toward LEK in management. Watermen considered LEK as salient, credible and legitimate; scientists did not. In meeting 2, both scientists and watermen considered LEK as reliable and accurate (i.e., credibility), but did not share the same views of LEK’s usefulness (salience) and fairness (legitimacy). Other stakeholder groups—NGOs, government—showed no differences of opinion about LEK. At least, two additional workshops are scheduled and additional data analysis may indicate further changes in attitude. Interview, observation, and content analysis will further expand the interpretation of these findings, including strategies for improving participatory modeling processes.