The fisheries livelihoods resilience check (FLIRES check): A tool for evaluating resilience in fisher communities
Small-scale fisheries are important for the livelihoods of millions but are vulnerable to global and local stresses. Resilient households are able to maintain, and even grow their livelihoods, despite these stresses. Improving fishers’ resilience contributes to poverty prevention and alleviation. Effective intervention requires accurate evaluation of fisher resilience, but no quantitative tool currently exists. In this study, we propose the fisheries livelihoods resilience check (FLIRES check) as a widely applicable tool to evaluate fisher livelihood resilience. This new tool combines the principles of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach with the methodology of RAPFISH (a rapid assessment of fisheries sustainability). For the FLIRES check, 43 attributes were designed to quantify previously described qualitative factors that enable or constrain livelihoods in fishing communities in West Sumatra, Indonesia. These were grouped into six “capital” fields (financial, human, natural, institutional, physical and social) used in the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach. RAPFISH multidimensional scaling was applied to evaluate resilience in each of these fields on a scale from good (resilient) to bad (vulnerable). The FLIRES check was tested in two fishing communities in West Sumatra. The tool identified strengths and weaknesses in livelihood resilience at a household, fishing gear and village scale, for each field. The FLIRES assessment compared well with qualitative descriptions as assessed by interview. It facilitates quantitative temporal and spatial comparisons of livelihood resilience which has not previously been possible. We invite further testing, refining of the attributes and wider application of this methodology.