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Fishing workshop

Exchanging ideas, forging new partnerships: workshop attendees discuss the health of fishing-dependent communities.

Healthier fishing communities

The ESI recently hosted a workshop on ‘Health and hidden vulnerability in UK fishing-dependent communities’, to explore the results of research into Cornish inshore fisheries. This project examined the wellbeing of fishers and their families, emphasising the previously under-studied area of health.

Fishing communities have faced many social, environmental and political changes over time, and discussions centred on the wellbeing and health impacts they have had.  Because such a wide range of participants attended – from the healthcare sector, fisheries management and the fishing industry – the workshop was an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge, generate ideas and engage with each other, with the aim of developing partnerships.

Funded by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Cultivation Award, the workshop’s aim was to translate research findings into wider regional policy, and to contribute to the development of sustainable and healthy fishing communities. A summary of the research and a policy brief for key stakeholders are both key outcomes of the workshop.

Dr Rachel Turner, Lecturer in Environmental Social Science at the ESI said: “This workshop was a fantastic opportunity to bring together a hugely diverse range of expertise, to talk about an issue of common interest. It was a very positive and constructive day, highlighting the value of research into the human side of the fishing industry. We look forward to collaborating on the many ideas that emerged about how to better support fishermen, families and fishing communities that are experiencing change.” 

Barbara Powell, a Porthleven Town Councillor, added: "I felt very privileged to be at the workshop ...  I learnt such a lot about a job that is all around me here, in Porthleven, but just didn't understand. The poor diet, time away from home, regulations, weather, money worries, accidents all create a perfect storm of anxiety without the problem of catching fish. I value the fish I eat more now. I met a lot of interesting people, made several contacts [and] found the day well balanced and enjoyable."

This workshop was designed and hosted jointly by the ESI, Cornwall Council Public Health, Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, and the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association.

Date: 30 September 2015