Citizen-Science and Participatory Research as a Means to Improve Stakeholder Engagement in Resource Management: A Case Study of Vietnamese American Fishers on the US Gulf Coast


This study examines the engagement of Vietnamese American commercial fisheries stakeholders in the US Gulf Coast with state and federal agencies and the role that citizen science and participatory research may play in improving this engagement. Using a mixed methods study including surveys, interviews, and focus groups, findings highlight language, lack of trust, and outreach misfit as key barriers to engaging Vietnamese American stakeholders as demanded for collaborative resource management or co-management. However, findings also demonstrate the potential role for citizen science and participatory research that collaboratively engages stakeholders in research to overcome some of these barriers to engaging diverse fishing stakeholders.

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  1. 1.

    The survey administrator training handbook is available on request.

  2. 2.

    Since focus groups were conducted with translators, quotes are often in third-person.

  3. 3.

    Question text read: “For each of the agencies I will list, please indicate how much you trust that agency on a scale from 1 to 3, with 1 meaning no trust at all, 2 meaning some trust, or 3 meaning a high amount of trust”.

  4. 4.

    Question text read: “Thinking about your relationship with different agencies, please tell me your PREFERRED way to communicate with them.” Possible responses were: public meeting, letter, dockside visit, or visit to my boat, VHF marine radio, phone call, text message, email, or other.

  5. 5.

    Gulf Coast fishers and industry members tend to refer to white, non-Hispanic fishers as “Anglo”. We have adopted this terminology throughout the paper.


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Correspondence to Rebecca L. Schewe.

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This project received funding under award NA15NMF4270343 from NOAA Fisheries Service, in cooperation with the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA Fisheries. This publication was made possible through the support provided by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce/NOAA through the University of Southern Mississippi under the terms of the Agreement No. USM-GR05007-R/SFA-04-PD. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce/NOAA of the University of Southern Mississippi.

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Schewe, R.L., Hoffman, D., Witt, J. et al. Citizen-Science and Participatory Research as a Means to Improve Stakeholder Engagement in Resource Management: A Case Study of Vietnamese American Fishers on the US Gulf Coast. Environmental Management 65, 74–87 (2020) doi:10.1007/s00267-019-01223-1

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  • Citizen science
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Collaborative management