Building a bridge over troubled waters: an analysis of fishers’ trust in UK fisheries management

Eleanor Ford, Bryce Donald Stewart

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


1. Effective management of fisheries relies on high levels of trust between the fishing industry and managers and scientists. We therefore used an online questionnaire to examine how well the UK fishing industry trusted the key governing and scientific bodies, and how the views of fishers aligned with UK Governments stated management goals and measures.
2. Participants in our study had low levels of trust in nearly all the institutions included in the survey, however, there was high variation between individual responses. Only the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) had a mean score above 3 of out 5, significantly higher than Defra, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and NGOs.
3. The management goals of fishers aligned well with several goals from Defra’s 25-year Environment Plan, particularly sustainability and the need to protect the seabed. However, increasing the coverage of marine protected areas (MPAs) was the least popular goal among participants. Increased use of selectivity devices was most favoured as a management tool, while MPAs were again the least popular.
4. More encouragingly, those fishers who had previously collaborated with scientists and managers showed higher levels of trust across the board. We recommend increased use of fishing industry-science partnerships and co-management as key ways to increase trust as the UK seeks to reform and improve its management of fisheries after Brexit.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of York
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameMarine Ecosystem Management Report


  • Fisheries
  • Fisheries management
  • Trust
  • Fisheries science

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