Types of Interviews

Examples of Topics

Exploring Local Fishing History

Types of Interviews

Interviews conducted for the Local Fisheries Knowledge Project fall primarily into three broad categories:

•  Documenting larger cultural, social, and economic changes to understand how they have affected the lives of individuals and communities.

Local communities and their cultures change over time just as larger society changes. As individuals react to changing circumstances, their families and communities are also affected. Circumstances that prompt change may include:


Increases or declines of natural resources


Climate change


Technology changes


Economic reorientations (regionally, nationally, globally)


Lifestyle preferences

These factors can result in individuals seeking new professions, shifts in gender roles, and inward or outward migrations of people from communities, either bringing new ideas into a community or removing special expertise when they go.

Hauling in 400 tons of jack mackerel. Chile. Photo by C. Ortiz Rojas.

Describing particular aspects of local fishing culture and society

Interviewers may collect information such as fishing legends and myths, food-ways, folk art, family involvement in fishing businesses, life in a fishing community, and how fishermen interact with each other.

    Three generations of native Alaska fishers. Photo by Karen Ducey, NOAA Fisheries.

Learning about local ecological knowledge

Local ecological knowledge (LEK) and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) research is primarily interested in what people know about their local environment, how they acquired the knowledge, and their resource management practices.

    Inca terns linger on the rail of a fishing boat. Peru. Photo by Teobaldo Dioses.

Examples of Topics

Students will choose specific interview topics based on personal interest or as part of a class project. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Species behavior, seasonal patterns, life history, population, range

Historical knowledge of species, habitats, climate

Ecological relationships and species interactions·

Orca spyhopping. NOAA Photo Library
    Processed and packaged fish. NOAA Photo Library.

Fishing gear and vessels

Business aspects of fishing

Fishing culture and society

Jack in seagrass. Heather Dine, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.   Family fishing for recreation in New Jersey. Edward Pastula, NOAA Fisheries.

Impacts of fishing regulations on individuals, families, and communities·

Gender roles and issues in fishing

Courtesy of the NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region   Fish processing, Peru. Teobaldo Dioses.

Exploring Local Fishing History


Horses pulling in a seine from the Columbia River. 1938. Photo by Sean Linehan, NOAA’s Ocean Service.

To get historical perspectives, students may seek out older, retired fishermen, such as those over 70, with whom to conduct oral histories. These fishermen have decades of fishing experience. Over the last century, the fishing industry has experienced extreme changes in fishing technology and in the abundance of many commercially fished species. Older fishermen are a valuable resource from which to learn about these changes. Some older fishermen may also be able to teach students about fishing crafts that are no longer used, like knitting trap heads and bait bags.


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