IMCC3 Theme Unfolds: Collaboration and Communication


by Lizzie Huxley-Jones

While one could argue that the theme of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress in Glasgow, Scotland, is a glut of haggis consumption or taking selfies with stuffed mascots, another theme has uncovered itself through talks over the last couple of days—collaborate and communicate.

Well I suppose that could be two themes, but just work with me.

The call for effective collaboration and communication has been sounded in many of the IMCC3 talks and workshops I have attended over the last few days.

An emphasis on quality not quantity, and inclusive working processes that include all stakeholders, have rung through the calls to action and take-home messages of presentations. Knowledge sharing between diverse stakeholders allows novel thought processes, representation of all viewpoints and broadened potential outreach.

One successful example of this was fisher-to-fisher cross-geographical collaboration, promoted by John Williamson of SeaKeeper as an opportunity for direct peer-to-peer exchange of cultural knowledge that may never have been shared without this engagement. My own work at International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) is currently focused on a fisher exchange of our own (which you can follow online at our website and via #IPNLFvoyage on Twitter), but a collaborative approach runs through all our work, through Fisheries Improvement Projects to encouraging European retailers to fund projects in tuna producing countries.

I came to IMCC to find novel ways of sharing the amazing work we do. Every time I tell someone about the exchange in particular, eyes widen, smiles broaden and cries of “amazing” and “cool” slip out. I want to tap into that instant response, and share the stories of the work IPNLF and our partners do around the world.

The desire to share information is in all of us – we just need to find the tools to do this. The conservation marketing workshop held on Saturday afternoon had around 90 attendees, all keen to gain new skills to tap into the foreign dialects of branding and marketing. We have recognised we need to adapt our stories, but it’s clear we haven’t reached fluency yet, particularly when it comes to that mysterious language of politics.

Future communications aside, it has been astoundingly clear to me that we are, as a community, engaged in some of the best story-sharing platforms. Nowhere is this clearer than Twitter, IMCC’s unofficial communications tool of choice. As Dr. Chris Parsons shared on Twitter, in the first official day of the IMCC, over 6,720 tweets were shared on the conference hashtag by that day. This doesn’t even include the potential comments that were made without including the hashtag. I’m sure plenty of you have noticed those screens don’t always contain the same faces – though I’ve seen mine looming a few too many times for my own comfort level.

By sharing the content of talks and discussions via social media, we are widening our net, sharing ideas across the world with people who were unable to join us in Glasgow and people who may never have thought much about marine conservation before. Hopefully we aren’t preaching to too many of the already converted, but even if we are, at least we are providing them with the new information for improving communication that we are lucky enough to hear first-hand.

Together we are a great force for science and conservation, creating an accessible flow of knowledge in bitesize chunks that will hopefully help combat pseudoscience – I’m looking at you Shark Week – and planetary apathy. Let’s take this enthusiasm for our work, in whatever field it may be, and come together to make the best stories we can. Let’s take a note from the arts and remember Philip Pullman’s wise words: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world”.

Lizzie Huxley-Jones is the Communications Coordinator for the International Pole and Line Foundation

The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) works to help develop sustainable and equitable pole and line fisheries and to increase the market share of sustainably and equitably caught pole and line tuna. IPNLF, which was launched in November 2011, is officially registered in the UK and has branch offices in the Maldives and Indonesia. IPNLF is a hub for likeminded people and commercial operations that want to support the sustainable and equitable development of pole and line tuna. Membership is open to all organisations involved in the pole and line tuna supply chain, from individual fisheries to communities and markets.

Symposium focus: Help shape the future for marine research collaboration in Small Island States


By Edd Hind and Steve Alexander

If you work or conduct research in small island developing states (SIDS) you should make the attendance of a SIDS symposium in the Alsh Room, August 17, 3-5pm a priority at #IMCC3:

Foreign scientists in small island developing states: the challenges of performing relevant research, drawing valid conclusions, and impacting policy

It’s an important time for SIDS. This year has been recognised by the United Nations as the International Year of Small Island Developing States, and the future of their peoples, economies and environments will be discussed at several high profile conferences. As SIDS are even more dependent on marine ecosystems than other nations (think nutrition from seafood, livelihoods from beach tourism, hurricane protection from coral reefs!), we want #IMCC3 to be the forum where SCB members come together to decide how they can best conduct marine science to support future socio-ecological sustainability in SIDS.

In the symposium we will be specifically considering how international marine research collaborations are being conducted in SIDS, and to what extent they support priority science and management needs. It will kick off with a series of case studies and personal reflections representing a diversity of perspectives and experiences with contributions from Edd Hind (School for Field Studies), Stephanie Green (Oregon State University/ Smith Postdoctoral Fellow), Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (Waitt Institute), Michael Sweet (University of Derby), Jake Kritzer (Environmental Defense Fund), and Fabian Pina (Centro de Investigaciones de Ecosistemas Costeros, Cuba).

With significant time set aside for a discussion, we will also be asking participants to share their experiences of multinational research collaborations. We want to hear your thoughts on these and other questions:

  • What are the best groups for researchers to engage with before, during, and after research?
  • What should researchers do when there are no local outreach groups?
  • How can local institutions/individuals best engage foreign scientists and vice versa?
  • What is the best way to communicate to foreign scientists how their research can be most impactful locally in SIDS?

It’s time to expand and improve marine science collaborations in SIDS. Do please join us and help us let the wider research and policy communities know how this might be done!

If you can’t make the symposium do please follow along on Twitter during and after the symposium at #SIDSmarsci and by following @edd_hind, @salexander_11, @stepj_j_green,  @ayanaeliza and @jakeofish

A photo from Edd Hind of a fishing boat on South Caicos in the Turks and Caicos. Edd is an organizer for an IMCC3 symposium on marine research collaboration in small island developing states (SIDS).

A photo from Edd Hind of a fishing boat on South Caicos in the Turks and Caicos. Edd is an organizer for an IMCC3 symposium on marine research collaboration in small island developing states (SIDS).

Tips on Visiting Glasgow: Know Your Scots from Your Scotch


For delegates of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress visiting Scotland from afar later this month, here are some important tips to help you be in the know and avoid looking like a Glasgow newbie.

  • Glasgow is pronounced “Glass – go”
  • Edinburg is pronounced “Ed-in-bruh” (as in BRUsh).
  • Oban is pronounced “Oh-bun” no “O’ban”
  • Scotland is NOT in England, and if you live in Scotland, you are Scottish or a Scot (not Scotch and definitely NOT English)
  • A haggis is NOT a native animal in Scotland – you really do not want to know what a haggis is made from, but it is surprisingly tasty. For those adverse to eating random offal in a bag, vegetarian haggis is totally delicious.
  • People from Scotland are Scottish, not Scotch, that is a drink. In fact, if you want scotch in Scotland, just ask for whisky
  • Irish whiskey is spelled with an “e,” and Scottish whisky is spelled without one. This is because Irish Whiskey exporters wanted to look more posh (this is true).
  • Bourbon is NOT whisky.
  • A pudding is a heart- and artery-destroying sausage. It does not taste like chocolate.
  • Scones are flat, fried potato pancakes and you shouldn’t put cream and jam on them.
  • Glaswegians will get very upset if you suggest that all their food is battered and deep fried. Although, every Glaswegian I know says they have tried and liked deep-fried pizza and deep-fried Mars bars.
  • Hershey bars are legally not considered to be chocolate in the UK – they take their chocolate seriously.
  • Braveheart bears no resemblance to Scottish history, whatsoever.
  • The traditional dress for men is a kilt, not a skirt. The traditional Scottish costume for men has a small knife that you wear tucked into your sock. This is for dealing with people who try to flip your kilt up.
  • Nothing is worn under the kilt – it’s all in perfect working order. (This is a very old Scottish joke, that every Scot will have heard before, so don’t try it)
  • Only American tourists of the worst kind wear plaid jackets, trousers (pants) and tam o’shanter hats.
  • It’s “tartan,” not “plaid.”
  • The traditional highland tartan was basically an early form of camouflage, using dyes from traditional plants. This aided cattle rustling and raiding attempts.
  • The idea that different clans and families have different tartans is an ancient tradition dating back to …1822. Clans did often have similar colours in their tartans because of local plants used in dying, and the same weavers making the plaid, but the elaborate genealogy of tartans is something invented relatively recently.
  • The Scots actually came from Ireland. They colonized southwestern Scotland and then expanded to take over the rest of the country, dominating the Picts who lived there prior.
  • Glasgow was actually colonised by the Welsh (technically native Britons who lived in England before Anglo-Saxons invaded). There are lot of strange, unique words in the local dialect as a result.
  • The Norse also conquered western and northern Scotland and ruled it for hundreds of years – genetically, this explains the large numbers of “gingers” in some regions.
  • The scale that measures the degree to which a patient is in a coma, was developed in Glasgow.
  • James Doohan (Scotty), Christopher Lambert (Highlander), Mel Gibson (Braveheart) and Shrek do not have genuine Scottish accents. (Although, Mike Myers, who voices Shrek has Glaswegian family and can do a good accent).
  • No one says “och aye the noo” or “hoots mon” or “see you Jimmy.”
  • Famous Glaswegians actors include: Robbie Carlyle (Trainspotting, One Upon a Time, Stargate: Universe), John Barrowman (Torchwood, Dr. Who), Peter Capaldi (the new Dr. Who), Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Billy Connelly, Gerard Butler (300), Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Ian De Caestecker (Agents of Shield), John Hannah (The Mummy), David McAllum (Man from Uncle), Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire, Trainspotting), James McAvoy (X-Men First Class and almost everything these days).
  • There is a police box (yes an actual TARDIS) in the center of Glasgow, that is a registered historic monument.

-These tips were provided by Dr. Chris Parsons—IMCC3 Chair, marine conservation scientist and renowned Brit.

Take the Poster Pledge: Attend the IMCC3 Poster Session


by Edd Hind

Edd Hind presenting a poster during a poster session at a previous conference. Going to poster sessions is important to poster presenters and benefits those who attend.

Edd Hind presenting a poster during a poster session at a previous conference. Going to poster sessions is important to poster presenters and benefits those who attend.

As anybody who has been to the last two International Marine Conservation Congresses will know, the program of talks, symposia, workshops and events is action-packed. It’s why the conferences are so good. However, there is a danger that with so many choices, you miss making one of the most important choices of your whole conference: to make sure you attend the IMCC3 Poster Session, Exhibit Hall, 15 August from 7:30 to 9pm.

As a poster presenter at IMCC1 in Washington, DC, I can’t speak highly enough of the chance I had to discuss my research with those who took the time to come and talk to me about governance of Filipino marine protected areas. However, attending poster sessions is not just about making presenters feel worthwhile… It’s also about the benefits to you!

We asked Twitter why you should attend a poster session, and this is what people had to say:

[The] same reason as why you should attend talks. To learn about new research in your field.” (@whysharksmatter)

Personal interactions with presenters.” (@bgrassbluecrab)

Reviewing for oral presentations can be much more conservative, really interesting ideas can get their first airing in a poster” (@Craken_MacCraic)

There are some hidden gems.” (@RJlilley)

I like posters as you can display different types of data. Some of my most out-of-the-box work has been a poster.” (@Craken_MacCraic)

Provision of wine […] … more delegates pitch up and they are chattier!” (@TalkinOceans)

Poster sessions are […] friendly – less nerve wracking and tend to be in the evening.” (@Craken_MacCraic)

Beer!” (@ChrisDarimont)

And my favorite, from a recent graduate:

I was interviewed by someone who had a poster at a conference I attended.  Never saw her poster #doh #stoopid

So there you go… a few of a myriad of excellent reasons for attending the poster session at IMCC3. Take the poster pledge with me and promise to yourself and the poster presenters that you will be there. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the cash bar!

-Edd Hind is a Marine Resource Management faculty member with the School for Field Studies. He is also on the Communications Committee for IMCC3.