This paper proposes an ‘exploratory mapping’ approach that can be employed in the early stages of a marine protected area planning process. While stakeholders' involvement in conservation has increased, it often only starts after the decision has been made about where the protected areas will be located. The lack of proper engagement with resource users raises questions about transparency and legitimacy of marine conservation initiatives, hampering their successful implementation. The proposed mapping approach offers a simple way to incorporate in the planning process what small-scale fishers consider to be important to conserve, what they value in their fishing livelihoods, and their perception about the likely impact that multiple uses of the area may cause. Conducted in a small group setting, the exploratory mapping approach is casual and conversational, using paper maps and markers to capture information and stories as they are told. The approach was tested with 14 small-scale fishers living near the Marine National Park of Currais Islands, Southern Brazil. The mapping results, based on the GIS analysis, show a high level of agreement among the study participants with respect to the ecological importance of the area under protection. The participants emphasized that, in addition to its ecological significance, the area is also important in economic and socio-cultural terms, aspects that should be considered in the planning. The study highlights how the exploratory mapping approach can provide decision makers with useful information about small-scale fishers' values and knowledge, which can help identify potential conflicts and enhance support for marine protected areas.
Community-based and Participatory Management
During the planning phase the efficacy of different strategies to manage marine resources should ultimately be assessed by their potential impact, or ability to make a difference to ecological and social outcomes. While community‐based and systematic approaches to establishing marine protected areas have their strengths and weaknesses, comparisons of their effectiveness often fail to explicitly address potential impact. Here, we predict conservation impact to compare recently implemented community‐based marine reserves in Tonga to a systematic configuration specifically aimed at maximizing impact. Boosted regression tree outputs indicated that fishing pressure accounted for ∼24% of variation in target species biomass. We estimate that the community‐based approach provides 84% of the recovery potential of the configuration with the greatest potential impact. This high potential impact results from community‐based reserves being located close to villages, where fishing pressure is greatest. These results provide strong support for community‐based marine management, with short‐term benefits likely to accrue even where there is little scope for systematic reserve design.
Over the last four decades in the Philippines, a range of management tools such as marine protected area (MPA) establishment and coastal resources management (CRM) that includes localized species-specific management, marine habitat rehabilitation, and organizing communities for increased participation in planning and decision-making have led to improvements of marine habitats and fish stocks in areas where such tools were applied. In spite of these management advances, fishers particularly in the municipal fisheries sector continue to observe declines in either the quantity or quality of their catch, and attribute this not only to the continued use of highly efficient and ecologically destructive fishing gears, but also, the unregulated numbers of fishers and gears within municipal waters. Recognizing this as a pivotal challenge, the USAID-funded Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (ECOFISH) Project developed a process for the right-sizing of fishing effort as a potential application of the ecosystems approach to fisheries management(EAFM) to directly address the issue of unregulated fishing effort in Philippine municipal fisheries. The objective is to determine via a participatory process a configuration of fishing effort that can be sustainably supported by the ecosystem, and at the same time, can provide adequate fish catches to support the livelihood needs of fishers in a defined marine key biodiversity area (MKBA). The ecosystem and livelihood tradeoffs are investigated using the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) modeling and simulation tool. The entire process adopts a multi-stakeholder set-up that featured highly participatory learning activities, consensus-building negotiations between local government units (LGUs), and science-based decision-making workshops. All in all, it consists of strategically tailored yet adaptive sessions to effectively engage stakeholders in understanding the concept of fishing effort right-sizing, to acquaint participants with the basic biological and ecological principles governing the fisheries, and subsequently, to raise the participants' confidence in the decision-making and negotiation processes. The consensus-based MKBA-wide fishing effort targets considered both the system-scale and the diverse localized management priority objectives of the different user representatives. Across the 8 ECOFISH MKBAs, improving equity in the access of fisheries resource benefits emerged as a principal priority objective. Improving the ecosystem structure as evidenced by large, predatory fishes and minimizing fisher displacement outweighed maximizing catch and incomes as overriding priorities in the decision-making. The project envisions that the consensus-based fishing effort allocation will ultimately serve as basis for the regulated issuance of fisheries licenses by the respective LGUs and for the right-sizing process to serve as a model for determining fishing effort allocation options in other municipal fisheries systems in the country.
Poverty alleviation and resource governance are inextricably related. Mainstream resource management has been typically criticized by social scientists for the inherent power imbalances between fishery managers and small-scale fishing communities. Yet, while a number of mechanisms of collective action to address these power imbalances have been developed, they remain undertheorized. This paper builds upon first-hand experience of the authors in assisting the community of Biacou to strengthen the resource management role of a local ban called Tara bandu, as well as a qualitative study conducted one year after its implementation. Our argument is fourfold. First, we suggest that in geographies where mainstream resource management cannot be implemented, strengthening custom-based institutions in hybrid mechanisms provides an opportunity to promote a more sustainable use of coastal and marine resources in a cost-effective manner. Second, by analyzing the different narratives that were embedded in the process, we argue that community-based fisheries co-management can benefit from creating narrative assemblages. Third, we explore how the principles of agnosticism, generalized symmetry, and free association can be integrated in the work of fisheries managers to neutralize power imbalances with fishing communities. Fourth, we contribute to the current conceptualization of hybrid organizations in fisheries co-management.
Assessment of mangrove ecosystem services (ES) is essential to understand and manage the contribution of these ecosystems to the well-being of local communities. They are the primary beneficiaries but their experience, knowledge, and information are frequently ignored in ES assessment and mapping. In this study, a participatory resource mapping (PRM) approach was applied using local knowledge and experience to analyze geo-referenced information on mangrove ecosystem services. Local communities were involved from the beginning in method selection, application, evaluation, and verification. This “inclusive participatory ES mapping” was conducted in two villages (Bedono and Timbulsloko, Central Java, Indonesia) from 2014 to 2015. Participants representing different community elements were involved in the mapping process. They first created a historical map of the situation in their villages roughly between 1980 and 1999 (before rehabilitation) and then described the subsequent environmental changes. The mapping exercise also documented different mangrove resources that are utilized by communities and identified key areas, such as harvesting zones, biodiversity hotspots, erosion zones, different fishing grounds, and newly rehabilitated areas. The maps reveal that integrating PRM and indigenous geo-referenced information can elicit past and contemporary information on (changes in) ecosystem service availability and use. The results show that by involving local communities from the beginning, the participatory ES mapping can facilitate social learning, provide the foundation for the creation of social capital, and equip the community with sufficient spatial information to improve local mangrove management. The participatory ES mapping approach presented in this paper can be used as a model to support local and regional decision-making processes and to enhance community-based mangrove management in other coastal regions in Indonesia and beyond.
The aim of this research was to propose and evaluate a methodological approach to integration and spatial data analysis in order to generate information towards a participatory site selection for bivalve marine aquaculture in the Baía Sul, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. For this purpose, the Baía Sul was investigated considering an ecosystem approach for aquaculture leading to an assessment of its potential for marine aquaculture. The planning of the aquaculture parks was made through a participatory process to incorporate both environmental carrying capacity and social carrying capacity. Experts and modellers developed a GIS model to assess the potential for marine aquaculture in Baía Sul. Continuous (unclassified) maps were used to provide spatial information about the variation of the potential for marine aquaculture in the Baía Sul. The maps were used to plan 53 aquaculture parks over the Baía Sul. The site selection of the parks was made in six public hearings attended by 403 stakeholders from 38 institutions representing different sectors with diverse interests in coastal zone. The results showed that although the Baía Sul is suitable for the growth of bivalve molluscs, some hydrodynamic characteristics and the influence of urbanization constitute a sanitary risk for the activity. Experts, modellers and stakeholders had a different perception about the importance of criteria in the aquaculture parks site selection. While the experts and modellers considered the environmental criteria as the most important aspect to locate the aquaculture parks, the stakeholders took into account mainly the logistics. The final result of the aquaculture parks location, approved by the Brazilian Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture (MPA), adopted the site selection by the stakeholders, providing aquaculture parks in areas with sanitary risk for the bivalve cultivation. The main advantage of the adopted assessment strategy was to identify the divergence between experts, modellers and the stakeholders and the distance that still exist between scientist and decision makers in Brazil.
Human use and degradation of coastal ecosystems is at an all-time high. Thus, a current challenge for environmental management and research is moving beyond ecological definitions of success and integrating socioeconomic factors. Projects and studies with this aim, however, have focused primarily on monetary valuations of ecosystem functions, overlooking the behaviors and psycho-social motivations of environmental management. Using a nature-based salt marsh restoration project on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, we assess the role of human attitudes and preferences in evaluating social success for ecosystem management. We use structural equation modeling to compare the strengths of social variables in predicting restoration project support, and find public understanding to be a more important predictor than personal values. Our results show that even among stakeholders with strong pro-environmental values, a weak understanding of the management initiative can undermine support. We also find that project support does not necessarily translate to the prioritization of similar management strategies. Instead, when individuals consider overall management priorities, differences arise between particular resource user-groups. This suggests that strong public support for individual initiatives can misconstrue complexities in stakeholder preferences that emerge in more comprehensive management considerations. Future investigations of the psycho-social components of management solutions should address the potentially tiered nature of human preferences, as well as whether public perceptions of management effectiveness act as an additional context-dependency of social viability.
Ocean governance frameworks are aimed at achieving sustainable use of the marine environment and its finite resources. They are increasingly being developed and implemented worldwide. Although the importance of evaluating the success of integrated ocean management initiatives is widely recognized, so is its complexity, and there is still limited knowledge or empirical experience on how to actually carry out such an evaluation. This research aims to develop a framework to evaluate the performance of marine spatial planning (MSP) (focusing on the tangible outcomes of such initiatives). Portugal’s maritime area totals c. 3,800,000 km2. As one of the world’s largest maritime nations, and with its ocean governance framework finalised in 2015, Portugal emerges as a relevant case study for the development of a mechanism to evaluate performance of its MSP system. A step-by-step participatory approach was designed to develop a set of indicators that could constitute the core of an evaluation mechanism of the performance of the Portuguese MSP system. The resulting fifteen indicators cover all aspects of an IPOO framework (inputs, process, outputs, outcomes) relevant in an MSP context (data and information base, transparency, aspects related to conflict, and to economic activities such as levels of investment and jobs), while including contextual indicators related to the state of the marine environment. These indicators thus simultaneously allow an assessment of the economic, social, and environmental effects of MSP, including some integrative high-level indicators such as well-being. This research demonstrates the interest and usefulness of using a participatory approach to the development of a comprehensive performance evaluation mechanism of Portuguese MSP. It exemplifies a shift towards a new, participatory, approach to the monitoring and evaluation stages of the MSP cycle, which may constitute a useful tool in the emerging field of MSP evaluation in Europe and beyond.
We describe the structure and historic landings of the Punta Abreojos fishing cooperative (Baja California Sur, Mexico) for the period between 2001 and 2015 to understand the dynamics of an economically and ecologically successful coastal fishing community according to catches and the direct income of fishers. A total of 21 commercial species were classified into three major groups: cultural resources, target resources and complementary resources. The most important resource in terms of total biomass was Paralabrax nebulifer(58.4%), followed by Panulirus interruptus and P. inflatus (13.6%). Seriola lalandi, Atractoscion nobilis, Caulolatilus princeps, Paralichtys californicus and P. woolmani made up minor proportions of the total biomass contributing 7.0%, 5.7%, 3.4% and 3.2% respectively. Haliotis fulgens and H. corrugata represented just 1.1% of the total biomass caught. Lobsters were the most profitable source of direct income for fisherman (77.5%), followed by the green and pink abalone (10.4%), barred sand bass (5.6%), white seabass (2.7%), California and speckled flounder (1.2%), yellowtail (1%) and whitefish (0.4%). The rest of the catch was composed of six species of finfish that represented 4.1% of the total catch biomass and 0.4% of the revenues from fishing.
This work provides a first clear base-line description of the fisheries in Punta Abreojos which implements a management program that aims to ensure the wellbeing of the fishers and the fishery. The cooperative has been successful in maintaining catch at levels considered optimal to sustain revenues and continued annual landings. A management and cooperative structure that allows for adaptive change whilst maintaining revenues of the fishers is testament to the stewardship of the community and the participatory management upon which the community is built. For this reason, Punta Abreojos should be considered an example of a successful small-scale fishing cooperative that other, less successful fishing groups, can learn from.
The implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in multispecies fleets has the potential to increase fleet diversification strategies, which can reduce pressure on overexploited stocks. However, diversification may reduce the economic performance of individual vessels and lead to unforeseen outcomes. We studied the economic performance of different fleet segments and their fishing métiers in Wales (United Kingdom) to understand how the number of the métiers employed affects fishing income, operating costs, and profit. For the small-scale segment, more specialised fishers are more profitable and the diversity of métiers is limiting both the maximum expected income and profit but also the operating costs. This last result may explain the propensity of fishers to increase the number of métiers for at least part of the studied fleet. Therefore, while for some vessels, increasing the diversity of fishing métiers may be perceived to limit economic risk associated with the interannual variability of catches and prices and (or) to reduce their operating costs, it can ultimately result in less profitable activity than more specialised vessels.