Interviewee: Crista Bank

Role: Fisheries Research Technician

Date of Interview: 9/23/07

Collection: Working Waterfront Festival Community Documentation Project

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: A fisheries research technician talks about being female in a male dominated world and the value of cooperative research.

Transcript: "My name is Crista Bank and I am a fisheries research technician at the School for Marine Sciences and Technology here in New Bedford, which is part of UMass Dartmouth and I primarily work in the groundfish labs, so I work on some of the different research projects involving cod, yellowtail, all different types of groundfish.

On the docks and on the fishing boats, women are still not completely accepted. In some respects they are, until they see you out working,... like I've been on boats before, or I've even talked to a captain once who's like I never let a woman on my boat except to clean it, until I was forced to take an observer, a female observer. And he was like, she worked harder than some of my crew. He completely changed his perspective.

We have a group of draggers that we work with out of New Bedford, this is with SMAST, its cooperative research, it's called our study fleet program, so we have draggers that go out and collect almost the same information observers do but the fishermen do it themselves. They record for us weighs of kept and discards, we give them a digital scale. They take lengths of fish for us, same thing observers do, same type of length board and they record all this data for us.

You know you learn a lot from working with the fishermen. It definitely gives you a whole different perspective that people in management don't really have right now. Guys complain to me all the time, about having to take observers all the time, and the management doesn't know what they are doing. I said, one of the good things is there are so many observers out there that are interested in fisheries science and management, you're going to start getting people making management decisions that have been on a boat. And know the reality of what it's like to fish. And know what some of the management limitations can do to a small day boat.

I hope that sometime soon there is something good that comes out of science that can directly affect the groundfishermen.

They want to see the resource saved as much as the scientists, as much as anybody else, as much as Oceana and Conservation Law Foundation. As with anything, there's 2 or 3 different ways to get to the end result. And so not everybody agrees on how the best way is to do that. Because nobody really knows."

To read Crista's full transcript, click here.