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September 1997 No. 12
The European Association of Fisheries Economists


President's Column

EAFE president, Pavel Salz EAFE is entering its tenth year of existence, although the moment of conception and birth are difficult to distinguish. The IXth Annual Conference in Quimper demonstrated that EAFE is a small but active association. The field of fisheries economics is apparently interesting enough to attract young researchers whose presence alone is the best guarantee for the future. This is very encouraging. In my new role as EAFE's president, I would like to start with a personal message as to where I feel EAFE should be going. This is not meant to impose my views, which I cannot do anyway, but rather to stimulate discussion on this topic.

The first articles of the rules of EAFE specify four objectives:

  1. To promote cooperation;
  2. To disseminate information;
  3. To further understanding of fisheries economics; and
  4. To serve as a channel of communication.

These objectives are evidently as valid today as they were ten years ago. It is particularly the fourth objective which I would like to give some attention this time, but all four are evidently closely related.

The question may be raised with whom should we be communicating and how? EAFE has indeed served very well as a channel of communication among ourselves. The number of international research projects carried out over the last decade is impressive. Ten years ago we knew barely each other's names, but today we cooperate and exchange ideas and information on almost continuous basis. I hope to be able to prepare a review of the progress of EU wide research into fisheries economics. If so it will be presented to the next AGM. In order to promote further our mutual contacts, I have promised at the Quimper Conference to set up an EAFE Home Page on Internet. You will find the details about progress elsewhere in the Bulletin.

During the meeting of the new Bureau in Quimper it was decided that various EAFE issues should not only be dealt with by the Bureau, but that a broader scope of views would be desirable. Therefore in the course of the year I shall be in touch with various individual members. At the same time I would like to call upon all of you to contact me whenever you feel you have come across something from which EAFE would profit - be it an idea, an initiative you would like take or whatever else. The future of EAFE lies in the hands of its active members, not in the hands of the Bureau alone.

Now that we have organized ourselves, it is time to look outward and start communicating with others. This does not mean that we should start giving advice and education to those who are less fortunate because they are not economists. Communication is a two way process. You can only communicate with someone if he is willing to communicate with us. You cannot help the impression that some of us think that the (fisheries) world turns around economics. I do not share this view. I find it important to look critically at ourselves in order to understand better our relation with fishermen, marine biologists, other scientists, administrators or industry representatives. Over the years we have noticed that many non economists in the fisheries world do not appreciate our potential contribution. In my opinion it is not their problem, but ours. We have failed in communication. Our message was apparently in a language which they did not understand. It is our task to do something about it. Therefore I shall attempt to develop a short discussion paper on what economics may contribute to various aspects of fisheries analysis. I hope that in the end we shall be able to produce a document which will support our communication with non economists.

Dialogue with others will also receive special attention during the our next conference in Holland. Special sessions will be organized for this purpose. 

Before closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing members of the Bureau - Philip, Ola, Zika - for keeping the association well on course. I would also like to thank Patrice for taking such a good care of the Bulletin during his years as editor. Finally, my thanks to Jean, Olivier, Jean Pierre and Denis for the excellent job they have done in organizing the Quimper Conference and to our hosts in Quimper and Concarneau for receiving us so cordially.

Pavel Salz

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