Socio-economic, operational and technical characterisation of the harvesting of gooseneck barnacle (Pollicipes pollicipes) in SW Portugal: Insights towards fishery co-management
The present study characterised the socio-economic, operational and technical aspects of harvesting the gooseneck barnacle (Pollicipes pollicipes) along the southwestern coast of Portugal. For this purpose, face-to-face interviews were conducted with commercial harvesters of the two most representative fishery associations (covering 51% licensed harvesters) in the area of the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina. Based on traditional ecological knowledge, this study confirmed the local importance, ancestral character and family traditions of this activity, which constitutes the exclusive occupation of nearly half of the interviewed harvesters and an important source for household incomes. In addition, data was also gathered on preferential fishing zones, harvesting effort and duration, daily catches and selling prices. The main concerns, problems and difficulties experienced in this activity relate to the excessive number of recreational harvesters, creating problems at the levels of exploitation, commercialisation, management and inspection. The study further confirms the rising interest and involvement of the commercial harvesters in enhancing the competences of the local fishery associations. In particular, local harvesters want to encourage the development of a co-management system comprising spatial-temporal measures to avoid conflicts of use over space and resources, as well as innovative marketing strategies to improve the recognition, value and traceability of the shellfish. Overall, the information gathered is most valuable for adopting an alternative approach based on the cooperation and co-responsibility at local and regional levels, involving the stakeholders in the proposal of management measures adapted to the specificities of this area, activity and resource.