Cultural models and fishing knowledge : a case study of commercial blue crab fishermen in Georgia, USA
Cooley, Dana Robert
MetadataShow full item record
This research, conducted in 1999-2000, demonstrates how the ecological knowledge of commercial blue crab fishermen in Georgia, USA, is characterized and structured by specific cultural models, identified through computer-aided text-based analysis of interview data. Three cultural models and their supporting sub-models are defined and described. The first model reveals how the crabbers characterize their knowledge, and how this definition misrepresents the true nature of their ecological knowledge. The second model indicates the core characterization of their ecological knowledge, and encompasses the sub-models relating to their understanding of the estuarine environment as pertaining to the harvest of blue crabs. The third model represents what the crabbers themselves believe is the central ecological change that has most significantly contributed to the decline in the blue crab population. Aside from contributing to a better understanding of how cultural models function to structure and facilitate the utilization of ecological knowledge among fishing populations, this research also illustrates certain domains where the ecological knowledge of the crabbers closely mirrors traditional “scientific” understandings of the crab and the coastal environment. Conversely, the research demonstrates that in other areas, their knowledge differs, which offers insight as to how future collaborative efforts between scientists and crabbers might better incorporate crabber knowledge into management, and provide ecological information from scientists to the crabbers in culturally appropriate ways.