3.3.5 Fávllis Network (Norway)

Fávllis Network (Norway)

Fávllis is a network of academic and community collaborators that was created to advance knowledge relevant for effective resource management, including understanding interactions between ecosystems, culture and local societies in the northern fjords. The research project initiated by the Fávllis network is centered around the traditional knowledge of Sami fishermen: documenting traditional ecological knowledge, developing a model for a knowledge data base for marine resource management, and using documentary to increase the visibility of traditional knowledge and its relevance for effective resource management. Four municipalities in Finnmark are participating in the project.

Status and Contact Details

Center for Sami Studies


Dr. Einar Eythórsson, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research

Dr. Svanhild Andersen, University of Tromso, Center for Sami Studies


Dr. Else Grete Broderstad Center for Sami Studies, University of Tromso Tromso, Norway

Project Time: Stage 1: January 2008-2010, Stage 2: November 2008- 2011

Project funding: competitive grants from the Norwegian Research Council

Q1. What are the main goals and activities of the project?
The overall goal is to document ecological change in the fjords of Finnmark using local knowledge.

Q2. Who are the participants?
The multidisciplinary international team consists of social scientists, biologists, a linguist, and a film making crew. The Center for Sami Studies of the University of Tromso implements the project.

Q3. Who initiated the project?
Dr. Else Grete Broderstad and Dr. Svanhild Andersen, of the Sami Center at the University of Tromso, initiated this concept

Q4. What are the locations and how were they selected?
Four communities (municipalities) in Finnmark and Troms are the participants. These Sami communities, fjord settlements, were facing environmental challenges and that is why they were selected. The existence of local institutions with the ability to participate in research was an important factor as well.

Q5. How difficult was it to find funding and how long did it take?
The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council at the amount of NOK 8.5 mil (USD 1,303,199) for two project stages for four years.

Q6. What are the relationships between the project researchers and the communities?
Many Sami communities that asked for this research cooperated in the planning of the project. They wanted the project because they observed that the fish stocks were decreasing and the ecosystem was changing.. The Project Consortium is administered by the Sami Center at the University in partnership with Saami institutions. Community members are not employed by the project. The communication is both ad hoc and planned based on the schedules of key participants in the Saami institutions and local fishermen.

Q7. What type of monitoring and what methods do you use?
The project is trying to establish baseline data over a period of time that people can remember, approximately from 1945. It does not use the word “monitoring”. The activities include:

  1. Interviewing fishermen using open-ended, guided questionnaires and an interview guide. Interviews are conducted by the researchers, sometimes with the assistance of local residents. About 20 people are interviewed in December, May, June, and in autumn. Village populations range from 50 to 200.
  2. Making use of the interviews that were conducted in the 1970s and 1980s by local research institutions.
  3. GIS mapping.
  4. Making a documentary film about traditional knowledge because traditional knowledge cannot be documented by words alone. The film will also capture differences between fishermen’s knowledge and researchers’ when they have discussions on such topics as causes for seal-population change.

Q8. How do you organize your data management?
The team is planning to analyze GIS biological data derived from the summaries of the surveys stored at the National Statistics Bureau. The goal is to put together different types of knowledge and have it available for open access.

Q9. Volunteers vs. paid staff and participants: how did you address this issue in your project?
The project does not pay participants. People are motivated; they want to tell researchers what is going on and they see the benefit in this research. The project, however, contributes to local institutions by providing financial support.

Q10. What problems have you encountered and how did you work them out?
Sufficient funds were not budgeted for project administration and that created problems. The time needed for the website was underestimated. This will be taken into account for the next proposal.

Q11. What do you think is the main achievement of the project?
This project has advanced cooperation between local residents and scientists. Through its work Sami traditional knowledge is made relevant and its use should improve local fisheries management. This project is about how to use all types of knowledge and make the best management decision. This project is also important for documenting traditional knowledge.

Q12. What advice would you give to others who would like to develop a similar project?
To look for partners to cooperate as early in the project as possible, preferably prior to any research activities, is important. Reviewing previous research and looking at what kind of knowledge is available can be helpful.

Q13. What future do you see for this project?
There is a desire to continue and establish a network for Saami fishermen. There is a need to train young researchers, build the capacities of local institutions, and make the University of Tromso aware of the traditional knowledge of Saami fishermen. The project team is fortunate to work with senior biologists who are open minded, interested and see the future of this type of research.



  • Built a strong collaboration between researchers of various disciplines, local communities, government and academia
  • Utilized archived data & integrated with new data multi-dimensional approach to resources management

Opportunities for Improvement

  • Network management capacity
  • Communication and outreach