In 2015–2016, a gear-specific assessment of the Gizo, Solomon Islands, commercial inshore fishery was conducted to assist management decision making. The survey identified at least 260 species and 25 families among over 14,000 individual catch- and gear-specific fish photos taken using a digital image capture system. Seventy-nine fishers provided 175 catches during surveys and more than 1,600 fisher and vendor interviews were conducted. More than 75% of all individual fish sampled belonged to nine families that included groupers (Epinephelidae) with 29 species and snappers (Lutjanidae) with 28 species. Groupers, snappers and emperors (Lethrinidae) dominated line-caught fish, while speared catch was composed primarily of parrotfish (Scaridae) and surgeonfish and unicornfish (Acanthuridae). Catch-per-unit effort (CPUE) was 3.9 ± 0.1 kg hr−1 fisher−1 overall, with the highest CPUE for line fishing at 4.5 ± 1.6 kg hr−1 and lowest CPUE for nighttime spearfishing (2.1 ± 0.4 kg hr−1). Gear-specific size distributions and species targeted varied widely, with juveniles dominating most catches for speared fish. Between line-caught and speared catch, only two species were common within the top 25 species. At the time of the study there were no enacted national regulations related to finfish in the inshore fishery in Solomon Islands. Community-based management approaches have been endorsed by government and non-government entities in Solomon Islands, however a greater level of community engagement and voluntary fisher compliance is needed in concert with government enforcement to control potential overfishing, particularly nighttime spearfishing. Ongoing support for precautionary, adaptive management is a recommended course of action to limit the potential for overfishing in Gizo and other coastal areas of high human population density that rely heavily on marine resources.
Community-based and Participatory Management
In this paper, we explore the Polish fishers' perception of marine spatial planning (MSP) processes off the Polish coast. Our research is guided by the radical approach to MSP which, at its centre, places the interplay between MSP actors and their stakes. Our approach certainly considers the relationship of MSP with politics and power, questioning the rational choice. Hence, we have selected fishers as a group which is often recognised as less privileged, with no or little influence on MSP. Firstly, using semi-structured interviews, we investigated the ways in which fishers identify the challenges inhibiting their meaningful participation in MSP. The fishers pointed out data and knowledge gaps as well as a perceived limited agency in decision-making. However, misconceptions about MSP, i.e., equating MSP to off-shore wind farms, appeared to be the most significant short-term challenge. Secondly, through a focus group with MSP planners, we explored what the planners recognised as barriers to the fishers' active participation, and gauged the planners' awareness regarding the problems identified by the fishers. Both groups, fishers and planners, identified similar challenges. The major difference between these two groups was the issue of who should be responsible for addressing the concerns they identified. We conclude that much of the fishers’ reluctance towards MSP stemmed from their negative experiences in previous marine management initiatives, leading to a general lack of trust among the members of this group. We speculate that this lack of trust could have been diminished through a properly implemented stakeholder mapping in the pre-planning phase. However, the schedule stipulated by the EU MSP Directive, i.e., to prepare the plans before early 2021, did not allow the necessary time for the accomplishment of this step. We, thus, postulate that the stakeholder consultation process should be decoupled from formal MSP, and it should be most active in the pre-planning phase.
Effectively managing ecosystems is an information intensive endeavour. Yet social, cultural, and economic barriers can limit who is able to access information and how knowledge is exchanged. We draw on social network theory to examine whether co-management institutions break down these traditional barriers. We examined the factors that predict information access and knowledge exchange using interview and knowledge sharing network data from 616 Kenyan coral reef fishers operating in four communities with formal co-management institutions. For access to fisheries management information, we found disparities in fisher's age, leadership status, and wealth. Yet once we accounted for formal engagement in the co-management process, only wealth disparities remained significant. In contrast, knowledge exchange was insensitive to whether or not we accounted for engagement in co-management. We found that community leaders and external actors, such as NGO representatives, were primary sources of fisheries-related knowledge. Among fishers, knowledge exchange tended to occur more often between those using the same landing site. Fishers engaged in the co-management process and community leaders were likely to transfer knowledge widely (acting as ‘central communicators’), yet only leaders bridged disconnected groups (acting as ‘brokers’). Ethnic minorities and those with higher levels of education were more likely to fall on the periphery of the knowledge exchange networks. Taken together, our results suggest that co-management can break down traditional social and cultural – but perhaps not economic – barriers to information access; while social, cultural, and economic factors remain important for structuring knowledge exchange.
Although stakeholder participation is transversal to other steps of the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) process, its recognition and adoption is context dependent. Considering that MSP plans need to be periodically evaluated, not only in relation to their outputs and outcomes, but also through an analysis of the processes used to achieve the results, criteria to evaluate participation throughout the whole process are needed. However, a robust and comprehensive assessment framework focused specifically on participation is not available up to date. Therefore, this study proposed an assessment for such operational analysis in order to support assessment of consequences related to the participatory strategy chosen (e.g., increased social acceptance). A Stakeholder Participation Assessment Framework (SPAF) was developed and divided in two phases: Phase I based on key theoretical aspects ‘why, who, when and how to engage stakeholders’, as well as on criteria for costs (these five criteria were divided in 15 sub-criteria, and instructions based on social science knowledge to analyse each one were given); and Phase II in which a list of questions about participatory consequences can be addressed based on specific criteria of the first phase and stakeholders' feedback. SPAF can be used not only to evaluate MSP planning cycles but also to plan meaningful participatory processes; therefore, contributing to strengthen MSP processes and to promote more horizontal and integrated ocean governance approaches.
In post-disaster recovery phases, many communities reduce their vulnerabilities to future disasters by implementing community-based approaches. However, since these processes impact resource allocation, access to natural resources, and benefit distributions, these efforts have changed the environment and altered social relations. Therefore, this research explores how disaster empowers or disempowers stakeholders by investigating the interdependence of social relations in post-disaster natural resource management. After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the island of Koh Klang demonstrated resilience in restoring its ecosystem. We have used this as a case study featuring a community-based project. Interviews and participant observations were conducted in the field in 2014 to collect firsthand information from local residents, NGOs, and the public sector. Text and discourse analyses were conducted based on interview data, government documents, and field notes. The findings show that after a disaster, natural resources and embedded social norms form the basis for a resilient community. Using community- and ecosystem-based methods fosters a community's environmental and social resilience and prepares it to respond to future disasters. However, such methods can also transform local politics, especially when residents' inequitable vulnerabilities and access to power are coupled with jurisdictional and land tenure issues. This research recommends that disaster recovery and mitigation policies are scaled to local levels.
Fisheries management is increasingly turning to participatory approaches as a way to improve stakeholder satisfaction with management institutions and policies, reduce conflicts, enhance compliance, and achieve various other benefits. However, how these efforts are perceived by participants and their impact on actual stakeholder attitudes is rarely evaluated. A quantitative survey was used to explore attitudes toward management and perceptions of participation opportunities in Florida's marine recreational fisheries management. Though most (89%) respondents agreed that public input should be included in decision-making, few agreed it is (19%) or that managers listen to public input (13%), and only 15% agreed there are opportunities for them to participate. Almost half (42%) were on average dissatisfied with management outcomes and processes. A significant correlation was found between respondent's perception that they could take meaningful action to influence management and their overall satisfaction with management (r = 0.58, p < 0.001). Stakeholders that had the highest and lowest scores for meaningful action differed in whether or not they perceived they had opportunities for participation and in their understanding of the management process. However, the strongest differences related to the perceived incorporation (or lack thereof) of stakeholder input into decision-making, and the quality of science behind decision-making. Overall this suggests that the perception that opportunities for participation are limited and not genuine is associated with overall dissatisfaction with marine recreational fisheries management. We recommend measures to increase awareness of participation opportunities and in particular, transparent and effective use of stakeholder input in decision-making in order to ensure that engagement opportunities are viewed as meaningful. This could increase satisfaction with management and strengthen wider benefits of participatory approaches.
This paper relates how fishermen in San Evaristo on Mexico’s Baja peninsula employ fabrications to strengthen bonds of trust and navigate the complexities of common pool resource extraction. We argue this trickery complicates notions of social capital in community-based natural resource management, which emphasize communitarianism in the form of trust. Trust, defined as a mutual dependability often rooted in honesty, reliable information, or shared expectations, has long been recognized as essential to common pool resource management. Despite this, research that takes a critical approach to social capital places attention on the activities that foster social networks and their norms by arguing that social capital is a process. A critical approach illuminates San Evaristeño practices of lying and joking across social settings and contextualizes these practices within cultural values of harmony. As San Evaristeños assert somewhat paradoxically, for them “lies build trust.” Importantly, a critical approach to this case study forces consideration of gender, an overlooked topic in social capital research. San Evaristeña women are excluded from the verbal jousting through which men maintain ties supporting their primacy in fishery management. Both men’s joke-telling and San Evaristeños’ aversion to conflict have implications for conservation outcomes. As a result, we use these findings to help explain local resistance to outsiders and external management strategies including land trusts, fishing cooperatives, and marine protected areas.
Public efforts to support proper use and preservation of Florida’s historic shipwrecks began in earnest in the late 1980s. One of the most successful and popular programs developed by the state is the Underwater Archaeological Preserve system. As part of this process, state archaeologists begin by working with sport divers and local governments to establish the Preserve. From this point forward, archaeologists utilize the submerged sites to facilitate hands-on, non-disturbance survey and documentation trainings for these and other groups. Using the same framework, the Florida Public Archaeology Network continues to engage the public’s interest in Florida’s shipwrecks and other submerged cultural heritage sites. This chapter describes the Submerged Sites Education and Archaeological Stewardship (SSEAS) program and the Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar (HADS), and how these programs are intended to encourage divers to become active in monitoring wreck sites and making their own discoveries, in the process producing information instead of simply consuming information. While initial results have been encouraging, they also provide a lesson for orienting collaborative programs to the needs of the audience, rather than only to the needs of archaeologists.
Coastal nations and islands have featured a participatory turn this century directed to resolving conflicts in multi-use/user marine spaces. Yet, few conceptual and empirical studies focus on participation as an institutional form to engage with the pressures of diverse and contesting uses and user interests in marine environments. These spaces are volatile arenas of power and politics, challenging available regulatory, governance and managerial models. The paper first reviews understandings of the nature of the relational field of diversity-contestation-participation in the international literature and second draws on empirical findings from five case studies of marine participatory process configurations in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand. The nation is a unique ecological, political, social, cultural and economic setting. Maori (the indigenous people) have developed holistic intergenerational resource nurturing principles and practices (Vision Matauranga (VM)) that are actively shaping marine futures. This momentum has markedly altered the nature and terms of engagement of participation in Aotearoa New Zealand's shallow marine regulatory context. The country is thus an ideal setting to examine the rise of quasi-independent Participatory initiatives, contextualise and examine their diversity, contestation, participation interactions, confront relational and co-production aspects of agency that are an integral part of real-time participatory processes, and to reflect on van Kerkhoff and Lebel's (2015) contention that different possible futures hang on people asking new questions and being brave enough to experiment with process, collaboration, and their own conceptualisations and knowledges'.
Community-based mangrove management (CBMM) in Thailand has been uniquely successful, so that efforts to promote CBMM elsewhere can potentially learn from the Thai experience. This qualitative research identifies factors contributing to success of community-based mangrove management in four coastal communities along the Andaman Sea during 1980–2017. The emergence and consolidation of community-mangrove management took place in distinct phases including collective action with support by NGOs to address a degradation crises; a shift to cooperation with government; and the stabilization and enhancement of sustainable management. Factors explaining the emergence of successful community mangrove management include those internal to the community, such as leadership, occupational change, experience, and capacity to organize into groups; and those that are external to the community including NGO support in the initial phases, and increasing government support and recognition in subsequent phases. The factors that help explain success have changed over time, indicating the flexibility in what might facilitate successful CBMM elsewhere.