Fishing Circumstances on the Danube in Serbia - page 3


resources is precondition for collection of reliable data for statistical analyses. Cooperation between management authorities, stakeholders (public and private companies) and fishermen is a prerequisite for establishing sustainable natural resource conservation policies. Fishermen's commitment and confidence has been determined by economic interests. Haapasaari et al. (2007) clearly explained in an example from Finland that fishermen in that country, both commercial and recreational, who have invested more money in the fishing activity, are less committed.

Unfortunately little attention is paid to socio-economic issues in fisheries research and fisheries management debates on social justice are rare (Hernes et al., 2005).

Fisheries governance should change priorities and funding mechanisms, from "top-down" fisheries management to "co-management" with a focus on rights and responsibilities for fishers and their communities. Much would be gained if a principled debate among involved stakeholders occurred prior to the actual allocation process; that is, if stakeholders would agree on some general rules with regard to what constitute socially just distribution of access rights (Hernes et al., 2005). Participatory decision-making and sustainable development with stakeholder involvement would enable long lasting management solutions. Some authors (Sekhar, 2007) refer to this form of cooperation as social capital.. Studies have revealed the significance of utilizing fishermen's local ecological knowledge (LEK) towards improving sustainable fishery management.

Fishermen can help by providing LEK on behaviour and abundance trends of fish and other aquatic animals. Consequently, information can be tested by using more conventional research methodologies. The raw information obtained from LEK can further be utilised for planning and conducting fisheries surveys (Silvano & Valbo-Jørgensen, 2008). Gathering biological data from the fishermen can support fishery management initiatives, due to the lack of funding and scientific reports. Therefore, fishermen's LEK can provide a source of information to complement fishery data collected using conventional methods.

Studies can bring potential benefits to the fishermen by strengthening their cultural values, giving them a greater importance and recognition by managers and improving cooperation between fishers and management authorities.

"Co-management" based on rights and responsibilities of fishers and their communities could become a tool for better control of poaching and other illegal activities.

In many developing countries where species diversity is high, fisheries are complex and funds for biological research are very limited, information provided by fishers may be the only data (Johannes et al., 2000).



This study has been done as a part of activities within the Project No. TR37009 supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the R. of Serbia.