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Importance of Emotional Intelligence to Fisheries Management

Importance of Emotional Intelligence to Fisheries Management

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Published by Peter A Murray
Delaney, R. and P.A. Murray, 2004. The importance of emotional intelligence to fisheries management. Proc. Gulf Caribb. Fish. Instit. 55: 142-154.
Delaney, R. and P.A. Murray, 2004. The importance of emotional intelligence to fisheries management. Proc. Gulf Caribb. Fish. Instit. 55: 142-154.

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Published by: Peter A Murray on Apr 10, 2008
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Proc. Gulf Caribb. Fish. Instit. 55
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence to Fisheries Management
byROSEMARY DELANEY
Fairfield Cross RoadsSt. Michael Barbados
andPETER A MURRAY
OECS Environment and Sustainable Development Unit  Morne Fortuné P.O. Box 1383CastriesSaint Lucia
ABSTRACTThere is a growing awareness that fisheries management is really about peoplemanagement. It is about influencing the people who utilize and impact on thefisheries resources to behave in a particular way. It is also about utilizing theexperiences of those people to inform and transform the fisheries managementprocess, so that the goals of fisheries management may be reached in a moreefficient and cost effective manner. As a result of this understanding, fisheriesmanagement is evolving into a discipline that is paying more attention toparticipatory management of fisheries resources by placing increasing emphasison utilizing fisher’s knowledge. It is no longer accepted that Governmentofficials or scientists have all the answers. Other persons need to be involved if we are to find workable solutions to our problems. If the above premise is true,then it is time that fisheries managers move away from relying solely on theirtechnical skills and pay more attention to improving their people skills. Thispaper explores a relatively new concept, that of “emotional intelligence” anddemonstrates that by improving our abilities to relate to people (that is ouremotional competencies) we can indeed become more effective fisheriesmanagers.RESUMENHay una conciencia creciente de que la administratcion de la industria pesquerase trata realemente de una administration popular. Se trata de influenciar a laspersonas que utilizan los recursos pesqueros para comportarse de una maneraparticular. Se trata tambien de utilizar las experiencias de esas personas parainformar y transformar la administración del proceso pesquero, de manera quepuedan ser alcanzados los objectivos administrativos de las empresas pesquerasde una manera más eficiente y efectva. Como resultado de este entendimiento,la administratción de las empresas pesqueras está evolucionando hacia una
 
 
disciplina que treste mayor atención a la administratción de forma participatoriade los recursos pesqueros haciendo mayor énfasis en la utilización delconocimiento de los pescadores. Ya no se acepta que los representantes delGobierno o los científicos tengan todas las respuestas. Necesitamos incluir aotras personas si nos disponemos a encontrar soluciones realmente manejablespara nuestros problemas. Si la premisa antes mencionada es verdadera, entonceses hora que los administradortes de la empresa pesquera se alejen de la idea deconfiar únicamente en sus conocimientos técnicos y presten mayor atención almejoramiento de sus propias destrezas. Este informe explora un conceptorelativamente Nuevo, el de la “inteligencia emocional” y demuestra quemejorando nuestras habilidades para relacionarnos con las personas (es decir,nuestra competencia emocional) podemos sin dudas convertirnos en máseficientes administradores de la industria pesquera.KEYWORDSEmotional intelligence, fisheries management, participatory management
INTRODUCTION
The case for people management
 Who would argue about the need to manage fisheries resources? The myth thatfisheries resources are inexhaustible has long since collapsed, as have many fishstocks that have been inappropriately managed. It is widely accepted that in theabsence of management, the benefits that the fisheries produce will diminish.Even though some members of fish species survive, they will not be worthfishing for i.e. they would have become commercially extinct (Berkes
et al
.,2001). In extreme cases these species may even become biologically extinct.While many Caribbean fisheries are organised and conducted in ways whichwill inevitably lead to overfishing (Haughton and Singh-Renton, 2001), a futurecan still be envisaged whereby fisheries make a sustained contribution to foodsecurity, poverty alleviation, employment, foreign trade, foreign exchangeearnings, cultural development, development of communities, recreation andtourism and, thus, to the livelihood and sustenance of the people of the region.However, to attain this vision marine resources must be managed to providesociety with optimal benefits without compromising the long-term health of fishstocks or marine ecosystems. The factors which constrain proper managementinclude: irresponsible fishing practices; inadequate knowledge of fish stocks, themarine ecosystem and the social and economic conditions of the fishers;inadequate long-term policies; inadequate human and institutional capacity forresearch, planning and decision making; inadequate participation of resourceusers in planning and decision-making; inadequate monitoring, control andsurveillance; inadequate post harvest handling, processing and marketing;inadequate port and other shore-based facilities; environmental degradation andpollution of the region’s marine waters and scarce financial resources.
 
 
If you think about it, most of the factors cited above are about people. They arenot about fish. They are about influencing the way people think and behave, inorder to achieve specific goals associated with fisheries management. In fact,the goals of fisheries management are not about fish either, they are aboutmaintaining and enhancing the services and products that fisheries resourcesprovide to humans, whether those services be ecological, aesthetic,psychological etc.In essence then it might not be unreasonable to suggest that effective fisheriesmanagement is really a matter of how successfully people who participate in thefisheries sector collaborate with each other, in order to achieve particular goals.If we accept the above, then it is fair to state that while it is important forpersons involved in the management of fisheries resources to have technicalskills, it is also important for them to have “people skills”.These concepts are not new ones, Charles (2001) recognised that it is difficult toplace environmental factors as primary considerations in decision-making on theuse of natural resources. The comments of several authors point to insightsabout the role of people and people management in the fisheries management.Consider the following contributions:
Haughton and Singh-Renton (2001), indicate that in order to achievethis goal it becomes necessary to improve awareness of fisheries issuesand the capacity of resources users to work in partnership withgovernment to jointly manage fisheries
Nelson (1995 cited in Haughton and Singh-Renton, 2001), states that“The central issue is that it is the people working in fisheries, theirknowledge of the issues in fisheries and ability to build positivenetworks of stakeholders that are the real basis for achieving ourdevelopmental goals”
Delaney (2002) suggests that if we put the “spotlight on the humanfactor” we may find that we already have the tools required to bettermanage our fisheries resources.FAO (1997), Bunce
et. al
. (2000) and others including the participants at the
 
Symposium on Caribbean Marine Protected Areas: Practical Approaches toAchieve Economic and Conservation Goals, held during the 54
th
AnnualMeeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI, in press),identified a number of gaps in management effectiveness. Among the measuressuggested to fill these gaps were: Train managers in communications skills;Understand stakeholders needs via improved stakeholder assessments; Require… scientists to meet together with the community … in order to understand theirneeds and share perspectives; Overcome incorrect perceptions.The above contributions point to the need to travel a management route that isnot just grounded in “stark” science, but instead take a softer approach thatconsiders the “people aspects”. This often requires more than just a seeminglyobjective assessment of the situation. It brings to bear information that we know

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