Researcher Iria García Lorenzo, member of ECOBAS, receives the extraordinary Doctorate Award

His thesis, entitled ‘Governance and participation in small-scale fisheries: The case of the Galician fishermen’s guilds’ was recognized by the Standing Commission of the Steering Committee of the Eido. 
A study on a traditionally Galician small-scale economic activity
It was clear to Iria that “the topics that integrated the economy and the environment around us were a very interesting and attractive path to follow”. Her parents are biologists, and she always had a different perception of the natural world. That is why, after her master’s degree in Sustainable Development Management, and during the first year of her thesis, she was attracted to the study of the fishing guilds and the collective management of common resources. Supported by her directors, she thinks that “the fact of studying the economic aspects of this activity typical of our territory “was one of the best decisions of the thesis”. 
 An approach to the fishing guilds from different perspectives
In her work, Iria applied up to three different theoretical frameworks; the New Institutional Economics, the Economics of Natural Resources and the Social Economy. Thus, in an integral way, she managed to analyze the governance system of the fishing guilds. Their co-management with public administrations shows that they are entities of a public-private nature, which are organized autonomously with the participation of their members. In their conclusions it is deduced that, with their advantages and difficulties, they are the appropriate entities to achieve sustainable management of small-scale fisheries. 
“I think it is important to advance in the knowledge about the different ways we have as a society to carry out an economic activity incorporating environmental constraints, and how they benefit people and the territories where they are developed”. 
The steps to follow to prepare an EXTRAORDINARY thesis
“If you do the thesis with almost no previous experience working in the world of research, as was my case, once you decide to do it, the first thing is to read and read.” 
But fishing guilds were not Iria’s first choice. She made her decision after reading a lot about the Galician fishing sector. From here on, learning is continuous. “For some reason, writing a thesis is a complex process,” says Iria, who for the first few years was researching the theoretical and methodological frameworks she would use for her study. But when it comes time to apply them, “you’re afraid of doing things wrong, you’re limited by the available information … That in-between stage is a bit confusing.”
She confesses that she had the support of family, her directors, Manuel Varela and María José Cabaleiro, and the department, however it is not until the moment she starts to see results that the research process is better understood.

But to be extraordinary, a thesis must have strong points. Analyzing fishing guilds as Social Economy entities is one of them, due to the novelty of the study. Her research stays in artisanal fishing organizations in Portugal and Cambodia are also an important incentive.
“The thesis is aimed primarily at academia, in particular, it may be of special interest to researchers in the marine field and actors in the small Galician sector “.
The award and the future 
Iria feels that this award is a recognition not only of the work, but also of the relevance of the topic she has chosen with the help of her directors. “The purpose of all research is to help improve some aspect of society, and to see that your study is recognized in academia and can be useful to move towards a different form of development, even if it is just a little bit, that is extraordinary.”
The researcher thinks that theses are personal and hard work, so any of her colleagues could have won this award; but she says she was optimistic and that on her own merits she had a good chance of achieving it. “I think awards help because they give visibility to research and academically they are always a plus point for you and your team. But for people to feel proud of you and your work … I think few things can be better.
Among the projects of the awardee, is to continue to deepen in the dynamics of artisanal fisheries in Galicia, but also in other communities and countries, and thus compare the different management systems. She is also attracted to the management of other resources in Galicia, such as the mountains.
“The world of research in Spain is not going through its best moment and I think we are all aware that there are many things to change, but personally I feel that, within the difficulties, I am in a very privileged situation,” she says, and that she feels very supported by the help of her research group and the Center.