MultiTip will focus on providing evidence-based research on the way in which the Nile perch fishery is understood by the involved actors and whether the recognition of a potential future tipping point in the fishery could lead to coordinated action, in particular in terms of compliance with existing regulations to avoid catching undersized fish. The research agenda has been developed in close collaboration with the Lake Victoria regional and national fisheries organizations, the industry, and NGOs.
The project will combine methods within social sciences, including elicitation and analysis of mental models across stakeholders and behavioural economics experiments both in computerized labs and in the field, as well as analysis of observational data provided by our partners at Lake Victoria. An important part of the project is to design and test a methodology that will be adaptable also to assess mental models of other natural resource management systems. Such a methodology will be extremely valuable to extend the mental model field outside of the current applications within this project.
The overarching questions
How do mental models of tipping points and Nile perch fish stock differ between stakeholders? How do experience of previous abrupt shifts in the ecosystem influence the mental models? How does understanding of system dynamics influence compliance with existing rules? How do mental models, system understanding, and economic incentives interact and influence decision making? And how can we change fishing behaviour by changing mental models?