13 March I organised a workshop to reflect on interventions in small-scale fisheries using an agent-based model.
The reason for wanting to do such a workshop was already longer on our minds, as I am working on an agent-based model that targets to help in a useful way to do development differently. As often as a modellers, when switching context or targeting a particular model purpose, I need to talk to experts. In this case I was particularly interested in:
- Stories of actual interventions: the stories of effect, impact and in particular to reflect on the blind spots. Are there things that could have been foreseen? Since the documentation is nihil or for me not traceable, we look for other ways of getting information.
- Collecting model wishes: after giving a demo of a dummy version of my model, what do they miss, want, find useful. Another way to get deeper to get pointers on what is good to know.
To have such a diverse group of people with their take on either fisheries and/or development, both researchers and practitioners was just sublime. From all the stories that were shared and reflections on what was missed or easily overlook, some blindspots stuck with me, as I think a social-ecological lense might contribute :
- The focus of intervention leads to ignoring other impacts, e.g. A social focus often led to ignore the ecological impact and vice versa.
- A gender focus uncovers an important but otherwise invisible part of the system,
- Social relations affect how interventions will play out. Taking into account the dependencies, organisation of actors (traders, fishers, fisher-trader)
- Short-mid-longer term effects: for example, how when finally an intervention is in place, it is actually too late for the fish stock, but is still executed and a community that by lack of any alternatives resorts to criminal activities.
*Note: I was made aware that intervention is a word to use with care (Thanks Maria!). I might use the word intervention (too) liberal. I use it to refer to a purposeful action to change a situation. I thus do not specify whether the object of the action is also the initiator/executor of the action. By lack of a better word, for now, I stuck with intervention…