Citation Information: Environmental Conservation / Volume 36 / Issue 04 / December 2009, pp 321-326
Author: J. E. Cinner
Abstract: Poverty may be an important influence on the exploitation of marine resources in tropical developing countries. A number of studies have hypothesized that destructive fishing gears, which can degrade habitat, capture high proportions of juvenile fish and ultimately lead to reduced yields, are primarily used by the poorer segments of society. However, few studies have empirically tested this relationship. This paper examines relationships between the use of destructive seine nets and thirteen socioeconomic conditions in communities adjacent to three peri-urban marine protected areas in east Africa. Fishers using destructive gears were younger, less likely to have capital invested in the fishery, had lower fortnightly expenditures and were poorer in two multivariate indices of material style of life. Based on the two multivariate material style of life indices, a binary logistic regression model classified whether fishers used destructive gears with almost 70% accuracy. These findings are broadly consistent with the literature on poverty traps, which are situations in which the poor are unable to mobilize the resources required to overcome low-income situations and consequently engage in behaviour that may reinforce their own poverty. Managers aiming to reduce destructive gear use may need to partner with civil society and donors to help break poverty traps.