Introducing The Kahawai Collective

21 July, 2022

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A new not-for-profit organisation – The Kahawai Collective – was launched earlier this month with directors Adam Langley, David Middleton and Finlay Thompson raising a celebratory toast.

Its objective is to hold resources, like fisheries datasets, that are used by scientists in three partner businesses. Those resources can then be used for research that supports sustainable fisheries management.

The move formalises existing relationships between the partners. David is the director of Pisces Research and has collaborated with Dragonfly since 2006. At that time he was a member of the science team at SeaFIC, a forerunner of Seafood New Zealand.

Adam is an independent fisheries scientist who also contracts to Trophia, a provider of research and advice for fisheries management. Adam works in collaboration with other scientists from a range of groups including Fisheries New Zealand, NIWA, fishing industry organisations and members of The Kahawai Collective.

One of the immediate attractions of the collective for Adam was maintaining efficient access to the Fisheries New Zealand catch and effort dataset. The data is provided securely to the collective’s systems and managed with the required confidentiality and documentation.

“In the past it was a time-consuming process to access the dataset. Now the architecture of the data systems we’ve established allows for regular data transfer in a much more efficient, streamlined and transparent process.”

The collective is developing tools to provide more timely and useful reporting of trends in fisheries. This work is intended to inform individual stock assessments and support management advice.

Another benefit for Adam is strengthening the working relationships with the other members of the collective. This includes opportunities for peer review of his work and fostering the development of junior analysts at Dragonfly.

“Our work has been quite innovative and has become best practice for the industry. I want to be able to pass my skills on and improve the overall quality and efficiency of the work. There’s absolutely the intellectual capacity in the collective to enable us to work more broadly and be more specific about the work we choose to do.”

The collective has been established as a service organisation for New Zealand’s fisheries researchers rather than being a research provider itself. The directors expect Kahawai Collective to become a mark of research quality across the wider scientific community.

“As awareness of the collective grows, we’re assuming that people will appreciate the high degree of quality assurance associated with how we use the data and the tools.”

As well as valuing the importance of reproducibility, quality and consistency in their products, the collective members have similar philosophies on work.

“All of us like the flexibility of working outside large organisations. I think that together we’re able to be smart and efficient with how we do things. It’s about contributing to something bigger than the sum of the parts, rather than working away in isolation.”

More information

Read more about and contact The Kahawai Collective. Top image by Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey.