Willy Phillips is the commercial fisherman that I have been working with to conduct my research this summer. He has been integral in helping me formulate ideas about how to conduct my work. Willy has been working on the Albemarle Sound for years, and in addition to fishing has worked on a number of research projects. During his time on the Albemarle, he has witnessed many changes and trends in the system. Often times Willy and I have discussed observations I have made in the field, like low oxygen or high salinity events, and he was able to give me reasons for why these things were happening.
This local ecological knowledge is the perfect starting point for many research projects and is important for researchers to consider. Often times, commercial fishermen are considered to be rather "shallow" and to only care about what fish they can harvest. This is far from the truth, because they depend on fishing for their livelihood, they have an intimate understanding of the resource and care deeply about protecting it. In this video Willy discusses the plight on commercial fishermen in North Carolina.