Participatory Citizen Science with Fogo Island Fishermen

Lay Summary 

This project is a participatory citizen project in collaboration with research partners (fishermen and fisherwomen) from Fogo Island. The project deviates from other citizen science projects in that our community partners, and not the university researchers, have developed the research question.

The project described here is in two parts, and both form the major components for an MSc(Env) thesis by Matt McWilliams (currently completing year 1 of his graduate program). The first part of the project is the participatory citizen science. Through meetings with fishermen and fisherwomen, we identified a research question about ocean tempeartures and developed a sampling methodology. Matt McWilliams lived on Fogo from May-September and assisted with deploying data loggers and downloading data. We presented these data back in the community and solicited feedback and recommendations for future sampling.

The second part of the project is a digitization exercise of historical (1979-1992) fishing log books. This was completed at the request of community members, who felt it would be useful to compile the data in a format that could be analysed and shared rather than have them sitting on a shelf. Matt McWilliams digitized tabular data into a relational database and the hand-drawn maps as a GIS database.

The project is on-going, as Mr. McWilliams has a second year left in his degree. He will spend part of the summer on Fogo, facilitating additional data collection. He anticipates completing thesis work by December 2016.

Environmental Science
Faculty of Business Administration
Harris Centre Applied Research Fund
Fogo Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
Fishing Industry
Mapping & Surveys
Geographic Information Systems
Industry Sectors 
Fishing, Hunting and Trapping
Start date 
1 Jan 2015
End date 
31 Dec 2016