Combining scientific and fishers' knowledge to co-create indicators of food web structure and function

Jacob Bentley, David Hines, Stuart Borrett, Gema Hernadez-Milian, Clive Fox, Johanna Heymans, Dave Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, we describe the approach taken by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas Irish Sea benchmark working group (WKIrish), to co-create diet information for six commercial species using fishers’ and scientists knowledge and incorporate it into an existing Ecopath food web model of the Irish Sea. To understand how the co-created diet information changed the model we compared a suite of food web indicators before and after the addition of fishers’ knowledge (FK). Of the 80 predator–prey interactions suggested by fishers during workshops, 50 were already included in the model. Although the small number of changes made to the model structure had an insignificant
impact on the ecosystem-level indicators, indicators of species hierarchical importance and mixed trophic impacts were significantly changed, particularly for commercial species. FK heightened the importance of discards as a source of food for rays, plaice, and whiting and reduced the importance of cod, toothed whales, and plaice as structural components of the food web. FK therefore led to changes which will influence pairwise advice derived from the model. We conclude by providing lessons from WKIrish which we believe were key to the positive co-production experience and development of integrated management.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019


  • co-production of knowledge approach
  • ecological network analysis
  • Ecopath
  • Ecosystem based management
  • Fishers' knowledge
  • Linear inverse modelling


Dive into the research topics of 'Combining scientific and fishers' knowledge to co-create indicators of food web structure and function'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this