Transdisciplinary Fisheries

A transdisciplinary approach is needed to properly frame and fully engage with the complexities of fisheries systems. The TBTI transdisciplinary fisheries cluster was created to address this need. During the 2014 World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress in Merida, a transdisciplinary workshop was held to explore the transdisciplinary principles that should be applied to fisheries, and to create some preliminary thoughts about what should be included in a transdisciplinary fisheries course for a diverse audience.

Since the workshop in Merida the TBTI transdisciplinary fisheries cluster has brought together a diversity of researchers to collaboratively develop elements of the transdisciplinary fisheries course. From February – April 2015 TBTI facilitated a collaborative project among 28 participants to build off the work from the Merida conference and create the groundwork necessary to develop transdisciplinary learning materials that could be openly available and easily adapted to diverse contexts and audiences. A report on the collaboration can be downloaded here.

In 2016, the TBTI Connect Publication Series ‘Developing a transdisciplinary fisheries course through collaboration’  portrayed the TBTI transdisciplinary approach and the collaborative process of developing a transdisciplinary fisheries course. On March 7th to 10th of that same year, a ‘Transdisciplinary Course Development Workshop‘ was held in Mérida, Mexico. The workshop was done within the Transdisciplinary cluster as part of the activities focused on developing content for the transdisciplinary training program. On December 7th to 10th, TBTI organized a course on ‘Transdisciplinary Research for Natural Resources Sustainability‘ in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Drawing from TBTI ‘Transdisciplinary Fisheries’ research cluster, the objective was to expose participants to the underlying principles of transdisciplinary research, through lectures on ‘wicked problems’, holistic thinking, and interactive governance, supported by group activities on the field that allowed the participants to gain a better grasp of the theoretical background.

In 2017, TBTI held a course on ‘Transdisciplinary Policy and Practices for Natural Resource Sustainability‘ in Trat province, Thailand, from July 31st to August 3rd. The objective was to introduce the theory of interactive governance as a tool for conducting transdisciplinary research to systematically identify problems, understand relevant systems, and create possible solutions for natural resource sustainability. Also in 2017, TBTI launched a report developed through the ‘Transdisciplinary Fisheries’ research cluster on ‘Towards Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries: Key Considerations for Transdisciplinary Teaching and Training‘, which aims to stimulate interest in transdisciplinary research, teaching and training, particularly where sustainability of small-scale fisheries is concerned.

For more information on participation in this cluster please scroll down to “Timeline / Work plan” and “How to contribute” sections.


The transdisciplinary fisheries cluster aims to engage researchers, practitioners, community members, fishers, and policy makers with the diversity, complexity, dynamics and scale issues surrounding small-scale fisheries systems. To promote the active engagement of this diverse audience a transdisciplinary perspective is required. A transdisciplinary framework includes a system approach to effectively examine the complexity of fisheries, multiple perspectives to transparently delineate conflicts and tradeoffs, and a transformative approach that uses research as a tool to address fisheries concerns.

Research questions

The aim of this cluster is to model transdisciplinary approaches to learning in both the creation and delivery of the course and community training materials. Key questions for this cluster include: What are the key principles of transdisciplinarity that should be applied to fisheries contexts? Under what fisheries circumstance is a transdisciplinary approach needed? What communication tools can we use to facilitate transdisciplinary learning in an on-line environment?


The transdisciplinary fisheries cluster will develop a transdisciplinary fisheries curriculum for both online and on-site settings and can be used as part of a formal curriculum or informal training. We will also develop support materials for this curriculum including manuals and teaching kits, which will be made freely available. The curriculum and support materials will incorporate illustrative case studies from around the world.

Timeline / Work plan

Course Content Development – Collaboration participants will develop course content for the Transdisciplinary Fisheries Course. Content reviewers will provide guidance for the course content.

Graduate course beta test – TBTI will test materials that had been collaboratively developed for an online graduate level course. The course will openly available, and collaboration participant who wish to test the materials will be encouraged to do so and offer feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Local capacity development – We will develop and test transdisciplinary on-site training session with a TBTI partner groups working in fishing communities.

Assessments of the graduate course and local capacity development will be done and used to inform and refine future iterations of the course outline and materials. The updated outline and materials will be openly available to anyone that wishes to adapt it to their own course or capacity development project.

Additional Material

Presentation: Chuenpagdee. R. and Walsh, C. (2015). Curriculum development in a transdisciplinary collaboration space. MUN Open Education Week 2015.

Publication: Walsh, C. (2015). Transdisciplinary Research and Capacity Building in Small-Scale Fisheries Workshop. Too Big To Ignore Research Report Number 02.1/2015.

Publication: Kleiber, D. and Chuenpagdee, R. (2015). Transdisciplinary Fisheries Course Development – Collaboration Report. Too Big To Ignore Research Report Number 05.1/2015.

Publication: Kleiber, D., Arce-Ibarra, A.M., Aylesworth, L., Barragan, M.J., Bassett H., Castrejón, M., Freed, S., Gonzales, M., Govan, H., Hines, E., Hurley, M., Isaacs, M., Johnson, A., Jones, R., Korneski, K., Léopold, M., Lewison, R., McConney, P., MorenoBãjez, M., Orren, K., Pérez, A. I. M., Plaan J., Ramirez, J., Ruperti, H., Schneider, K., Simmance, A., Simmance, F., Song, A., Vessaz, F., Whitty, T., Walsh, C. and Chuenpagdee, R. (2016). Developing a transdisciplinary fisheries course through collaboration. TBTI Connect; Publication series number C-01/2016;

Publication: Aguilar-Perera, A., Arce-Ibarra, A. M., Bishop, B., Breckwoldt, A., Cabrera, M. A., Chuenpagdee, R., Coronado, E., Fulton, S., Gurung, T., Hurley, M., Jentoft, S., Lazar, N., Léopold, M., Marquez Perez, A.I., Mattos, S., Nayak, P., Pascual-Fernández, J.J., Pierce, G.J., Ruperti, Loor, H., Said, A., Salas, S., Schneider, K., and Walsh, C. (2017). Towards Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries: Key Considerations for Transdisciplinary Teaching and Training, St. John’s, NL, Canada, 40 pp.

Presentation: Said, A. (2017). Ocean literacy through transdisciplinarity: A roadmap to sustainability. 5th European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA), 7-10 October 2017, Malta.

How to contribute

We welcome your continued participation in the development of the transdisciplinary fisheries learning materials. We encourage your participation in the following activities:

1. SSF profiles

One of the main commitments of TBTI is to make information about SSF comprehensive and available to everyone. The SSF profile in ISSF is developed with this in mind. Currently, ISSF is running thet SSF profiles drive to have the 200 profiles completed by the end of February 2016. We would like to encourage all cluster members to help with this task by completing the fillable form and email it to We don’t expect that you will have all the required information. Please consult colleagues or literature as necessary.

2. Transdisciplinary Fisheries Case Studies

The transdisciplinary fisheries cluster is collaboratively creating transdisciplinary fisheries learning materials. These materials will be used to develop a transdisciplinary fisheries course, as well as on-site training materials for local capacity building. Transdisciplinary fisheries case studies will be an important part of the transdisciplinary fisheries course, by allowing students to explore concepts and practice problem solving techniques using real world situations. As we anticipate that the solutions to small-scale fisheries issues are context-specific, it is essential that the set of case studies of the transdisciplinary fisheries course reflect the diversity of fisheries worldwide.

Transdisciplinary fisheries case studies include issues, problems, or situations that cannot be addressed using a single disciplinary approach. For example these case studies may include issues that are best approached from a systems perspective, or problems that require working at multiple scales with multiple stakeholders, or situations where information on the interactions between social, ecological, and governance systems is needed. Please see the example case studies (TD Case Study_K. SchneiderTD Case Study_M. Leopold).

Output: Our goal is to make these case studies an open resource. All the submitted case studies will later be formatted into an e-book and made available for use. The TBTI team will coordinate the creation of the e-book, with individual authorship attributed to the person or persons who submit the case study.

Instructions: To submit a transdisciplinary fisheries case study please answer the questions in the on-line form. If you are not able to answer a question please leave it blank. This will take approximately 60 minutes. If you have any questions please send them to

Cluster coordinators

Kurt Korneski, Memorial University, Canada

Charlene Walsh, Marine Institute, Canada

Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University, Canada

Cluster members
Name Affiliation Country
A., Jose Plymouth Marine Laboratory UK
Abobi, Seth Mensah Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research Germany
Alam, Md Mahbub Marine Fisheries Academy, Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock Bangladesh
Alencastro A., Liliana ESPOL Ecuador
Abdul, Waidi Federal University of Agriculture Nigeria
Abura, Samson Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization Uganda
Advani, Sahir University of British Columbia India
Akintola, Shehu Lagos State University Nigeria
Anatole, Danto CNRS / ApoliMer / UMR LEMAR / UMR ARENES France
Antonova, Anna University of Leeds UK
Arce-Ibarra, Ana Minerva El Colegio de la Frontera Sur Mexico
Arthur, Robert MRAG UK
Aylesworth, Lindsay University of British Columbia Canada
Baigun, Claudio Instituto de Investigación e Ingenieria Ambiental Universidad Nacional de San Martin/Wetlands International Argentia
Bailey, Megan Dalhousie University Canada
Balaraman, Subramanian Our Sea Our People India
Bannwart, Janaina Fishery coordinator of Epagri Brazil
Barclay, Kate University of Technology Sydney Australia
Barragan Paladines, Maria Jose Memorial University Canada
Barter, Lachlan University Center for the Westfjords Iceland
Bassett, Hannah Univesity of Washington USA
Beitl, Christine University of Maine USA
Bennett, Abigail Duke University USA
Breckwoldt, Annette Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) Breman
Brehmer, Patrice IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) France
Britton, Easkey Fisheries Local Action Group Ireland
Bystrom, Andy University of Costa Rica Costa Rica
Cakacaka, Akuila Institute of Tropical Marine Research Germany
Carvalho da Silva, Maria Helena Unifeso-Centro Universitario da Serra dos Órgãos Brazil
Castrejón, Mauricio C Dalhousie University Canada
Chong, Carolina University of Bremen Germany
Coswig Kalikoski, Daniela FAO Italy
Creaghan, Phoebe Dalhousie University Canada
Cronin, Holly McGill University Canada
Cruz-Torres, Maria Arizona State University USA
Da Silva Batista, Vandick Universidade Federal de Alagoas Brazil
De Freitas, Debora Biosciences Institute São Paulo State University-UNESP, Coastal Campus Brazil
De Santana, Iramaia Universidade do Estado da Bahia Brazil
Dutka-Gianelli, Jynessa University of Florida Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences USA
Elegbede, Isa Brandenburg University of Technology Germany
Esteves, Pedro Fundação Instituto de Pesca do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Fakoya, Kafayat Lagos State University Nigeria
Floro, Julien Marine conservationist Portugal
Finley, Carmel Oregon State University USA
Fiorella, Katie Cornell University USA
Fofandi, Kamlesh Volunteer India
Freed, Sarah University of Maryland University College USA
Friedman, Kim FAO Italy
Garcia-Quijano, Carlos University of Rhode Island USA
Gerhardinger, Leopoldo Sea Memories Collective Brazil
Ginindza, Joseph University of the Western Cape South Africa
Gonzales, Miguel York University Canada
Gonzalez , Miguel Marinez Instituto De Estudios Interacionales, Universidad Del Mar (UMAR) Mexico
Gordano, Chris University of Washington USA
Govan, Hugh Locally-Managed Marine Area Network Fiji
Granados-Dieseldorff, Pablo Rare - Fish Forever Mexico
Greenhill, Lucy Scottish Association for Marine Science UK
Gurung, Tek Nepal Agricultural Research Council Nepal
Hall, Pam Memorial University of Newfoundland Canada
Haque, A.B.M. Mahfuzul Dr. Bangladesh
Heyde, Jill Lestari Sustainable Development Consultants Germany
Hines, Ellen San Francisco State University USA
Hisham, Jafer Department of Fisheries India
Hudson, Joanna Blue Ventures UK
Hudson Weaver, Amy Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparaja AC Mexico
Humphries, Austin University of Rhode Island USA
Hurley, Michael LiveWater International USA
Isaacs, Moenieba University of Western Cape South Africa
Islam, Mahmudul Sylhet Agricultural University Bangladesh
Jadhav, Adam Dakshin Foundation India
Jani Mohd, Jarina University Malaysia Terengganu Malaysia
Jatoi, Qamer Uddin University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa Pakistan
Jiménez Badillo, Ma. de Lourdes Veracruz University Mexico
Johnson Frederick, Andrew Scripps Institution of Oceanography USA
Jouanneau Charlène Charlène Jouanneau Consultant France
Kaleekal Thomas, Thomson CUSAT India
Kappo, Ayorinde NASRDA Nigeria
Kasuti, Joseph State department of fisheries and the blue economy Kenya
Kehinde, Adekeye Fisheries Society of Nigeria Nigeria
Khan, Zaidy United Nations Nippon Fellowship Grenada
Koralagama, Dilanthi University of Ruhuna Sri Lanka
Kumar, Subodh Central University of Gujarat India
Lalancette, Annie Concordia University Canada
Lam, Mimi University of British Columbia Canada
Lamb, Norlan Conch - Conserving our natural cultural history Belize
Lau, Jacqueline ARC Centre for Excellece in Coral Reef Studies Australia
Lazar, Najih University of Rhode Island USA
Léopold, Marc Institut de Recherche pour le Développement France
Lewison, Rebecca San Diego State University USA
Lindström, Lasse Stockholm University Sweden
Linke, Sebastian University of Gothenburg Sweden
Loneragan, Neil Murdoch University Australia
Loury, Erin FISHBIO Laos
Lueiro, Xoán Inacio Amoedo Consultant Spain
Mattos, Sérgio Ministry of Planning Brazil
Marjadi, Meghna The Ohio State University USA
Marquez Perez, Ana Isabel Providence Sea & Land Initiative Foundation Colombia
McClenachan, Loren Colby College USA
McConney, Patrick University of the West Indies Barbados
McGreavy, Bridie University of Maine USA
Mestres, Sílvia Gómez Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
Miller, Karly Marie University of California USA
Moreno-BÃez, Marcia Scripps Institution of Oceanography USA
Mozumder, Mohammad PhD student Finland
Mphangwe Kosamu, Ishmael Bobby University of Malawi Malawi
Msomphora, Mbachi UiT the Arctic University of Norway Norway
Mueller, Miriam Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa Mexico
Mungoni, Sibonginkosi Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research Zimbabwe
Myers, Bonnie USGS USA
Nakandakari, Alexis The Nature Conservancy Peru
Namwira, Deo University of Birmingham UK
Napata, Ruby Institute of Fisheries Policy and Development Studies, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of the Philippines Visayas Philippines
Naranjo, Helven Fisheries Consultant Costa Rica
Narvarte, Maite Andrea CONICET-Escuela Superior de Ciencias Marinas- Universidad Nacional del Comahue Argentina
Neilson, Alison Centre for Social Studies, CES, University of Coimbra Portugal
Nuno, Ana University of Exeter UK
Oliveira, Ticiano Federal University of Alagoas Brazil
Orren, Kimberly Fishing for Success Inc. Canada
Palmer, Roy Aquaculture without Frontiers Australia
Pantazis, Alekos Independent Research Greece
Parker, Kashiefa International Ocean Institute South Africa
Partelow, Stefan Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) Germany
Pentzel, Maria University of Sevilla Spain
Pierce, Graham University of Aberdeen / University of Aveiro UK
Plaan, Joonas Memorial University of Newfoundland Canada
Pomeroy, Carrie University of California Sea Grant USA
Rachmawati, Laksmi Indonesian Institute of Sciences Indonesia
Ragusa, Gianluca International Independent consultant - Fisheries and aquaculture specialist Italy
Rakotondrazafy Andriamampandry, Riambosoa Madagascar LMMA Network Madagascar
Ramenzoni, Victoria Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University USA
Ramírez, Alejandro Social-ecological systems lab Universidad Católica de Chile Chile
Ramirez , Jorge WWF Ecuador
Rathnasuriya, Ishara National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency Sri Lanka
Ratzel, Meri Independent research - socioeconomics - Fish Locally Collaborative USA
Reghu, Raghu Prakash Central Insitute Of Fisheries Technology India
Reuter, Ricarda Afrika Kontakt Denmark
Richard, Natalie Alaska Pacific University USA
Robinson, Gary Bangor University UK
Rohe, Janne Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) Germany
Romero, Ronnie National Fisheries Research and Development Institute Philippines
Rubio, Nadia Centro de Investigacian y de Estudios Avanzados(CINVESTAV) Mexico
Ruperti Loor, Hans Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Spain
Said, Alicia PhD Student, University of Kent UK
Sampaio, Cláudio Universidade Federal de Alagoas Brazil
Satapornvanit, Arlene Nietes USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership Thailand
Sato, Tetsu Research Institute for Humanity and Nature Japan
Scherrer, Kim University Autònoma de Barcelona Spain
Schmidt, Jörn Kiel University Germany
Schneider, Katharina Heidelberg University Germany
Sequeira, Vera MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Center Portugal
Seto, Katherine UC Berkeley USA
Setubal, Sylvia Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Tocantins Brazil
Simmance, Alison University of Southampton UK
Simmance, Fiona University of Southampton UK
Soares, Lisa University of Warwick UK
Solari, Natasha Stellenbosch University South Africa
Song, Andrew McGill University Canada
Snape, Robin University of Exeter Cyprus
Stacey, Natasha Charles Darwin University Australia
Taiwo, Ganzallo Sylvester Lagos State University Nigeria
Travaille, Kendra University of Western Australia Australia
Tubino, Rafael Universidade Federal Fluminense Brazil
Urteaga, Jose E-IPER / Stanford University Nicaragua
Vessaz, Fanny NA Switzerland
Viegas, Maria Instituto Portuges do Mar e da Atmosfera Portugal
Viswanathan, K Kuperan Universiti Utara Malaysia Malaysia
Whitty, Tara Scripps Institution of Oceanography USA
Wise, Sarah AFSC, NOAA USA
Yingst, Alexandra University Centre of the Westfjords Iceland
Zoysa Siriwardane-de, Rapti Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) Germany