Sea ice throughout the Arctic is undergoing profound and rapid change. While ice conditions in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago have historically been more stable than conditions in the open ocean, a growing body of evidence indicates that the major thoroughfares in much of the western and central Canadian Arctic, including the Northwest Passage, are increasingly vulnerable to climatic forcing events. This is confirmed by the observations of Inuit elders and experienced hunters in the communities of Cambridge Bay, a hamlet along Dease Strait, and Kugluktuk, a hamlet situated at the mouth of the Coppermine River where it meets Coronation Gulf. People in these hamlets now face new navigational challenges due to sea-ice change. Navigation practices described by elders and hunters reflect an intimate knowledge of the land and ice topography, currents, and weather conditions for hundreds of kilometers around their communities, although people reported increasing unpredictable weather and ice conditions, making travel more treacherous. Many emphasized the importance of traditional knowledge and survival skills as necessary to adapt to ongoing and impending changes. They expressed particular concern that younger generations are untrained in traditional navigation practices, landscape- and weather-reading abilities, and survival practices. However, elders and hunters also stressed the need for more localized weather information derived from weather stations to help with navigation, as current weather and ice conditions are unprecedented in their lifetimes.
Local or Traditional Knowledge
Climate change impacts lead to alterations in migration patterns and the displacement of exposed native communities and peoples in the Arctic region, forcing them to leave their homes and traditional ways of life as a result of rapid local ecological changes. This paper illustrates climate-related displacements and subsequent relocation as extremely complex processes, and proposes traditional knowledge as a relevant source of knowledge both at local level and policy making spheres.
The main conclusions are that the representation of indigenous peoples in international governance structures does not guarantee that traditional knowledge is entirely engaged in evidence-based policy making and that traditional knowledge is not always valued as an equal source of knowledge by some relevant scientific bodies. In this context, changing the approach towards a knowledge-systems-based framework would contribute to the development of more concrete policies and strategies for adaptation of Arctic native communities.
Due to the socioeconomic importance of sardines in the South Atlantic, the aim of this study was to evaluate the fishers’ LEK and the attitudes towards conservation of S. brasiliensis in the fishing village of the Arraial do Cabo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A total of 134 semi-structured interviews were conducted from April to July 2016. The LEK was classified as moderate (0.56) as well as the conservation attitudes (0.60). It was shown that there was a correlation between LEK and income of fishers. There were differences in LEK and attitudes regarding conservation of sardines in all educational groups analyzed in the sampling population. The LEK and the attitudes also show significant association with boat ownership, occupation and if the fisherman belonged to the local fishing association. As a way to improve fishers’ attitudes in practice, we also encouraged the promotion of education among youth and adults is recommended so that the behavior of fishers becomes more favorable to the conservation of sardines in this fishing community. We also emphasize that local management must take into account the sociodemographic variables of fishers since these can influence LEK and their predisposition to conserve sardines. This approach would increase the likelihood of ensuring the efficient support of the local community in the conservation of this small pelagic fish.
The estimated impact of the EU Landing Obligation was investigated, which bans discards of regulated species, in South European fisheries through stakeholders’ perceptions with the intention to identify implementation shortcomings and practicalities that might lead to obstacles to enforcement. Structured interviews were conducted with 173 fishers in 4 countries practicing 4 generic fisheries (as typified by the dominant fishing gear) asking a total of 26 questions. Results show that fishers estimate that the full implementation of the discards ban will result in longer sorting times. Added to the limited space on board, especially in the more productive trawl and purse seine vessels, this may lead to practical difficulties in relation to compliance. Most of the respondents estimate that there are no realistic possibilities of utilizing the formerly discarded fish in the short term, because of the lack of adequate infrastructure on land Furthermore, the possible utilization types foreseen in the regulation will not help offset the costs of bringing former discards to land. The outcomes of this study have confirmed the implementation difficulties of the landing obligation, especially when the fishing industry cannot expect any medium to long-term benefits.
This study was conducted in the fishing community of the Cabedelo municipality (NE Brazil, Paraíba) and characterized the socioeconomic profile of the fishers, their local ecological knowledge and their main usage of fish species. Overall, 80 fishers were interviewed. Snowball, direct observation, guided tours, free interviews and structured and semi-structured questionnaires were used for data collection, which occurred from December 2010 to June 2011 in fortnightly visits to the city of Cabedelo. Most fishers ranged from 36 to 45 years, with low education and low income levels, and approximately 87% fished in the municipality. At least 33 fish species were recorded as important for family consumption and trade. The most commonly caught fish families were Carangidae, Mugilidae, Lutjanidae and Scombridae. The fishes most used for commerce were Lutjanidae, Scombridae, and Serranidae. Fishers demonstrated a high knowledge about the temporal distribution of fishes and categorized them as “fishes of summer”, “fishes of winter” and “fishes around all year”; fishes' vertical distributions were categorized as either “bottom fish” or “water flower”. Fishers also classified eating habits, some types of behavior and reproduction of most exploited species. Fishermen's understanding of the fish stocks distribution and fish ecology is potentially imperative for scientific knowledge and future shared management plans.
In most small-scale fisheries, especially in developing countries, the collection of reliable fishing statistics is not regular, hampering traditional stock assessments. In those data-poor fisheries, a precise knowledge of resources co-occurrence at the ecosystem level, as well as the spatial mapping of fishing activities seem key to support management in a complex fishers-environment context. In the largest South Atlantic coralline reef, the Abrolhos Bank, fisheries are extremely diverse in terms of exploitation capacity, fishing gears, target stocks and operating areas, but any regional fisheries management is currently in place. The aim of this study was to assess, organize, and analyze fisheries of three snappers (Lutjanus jocu, L. synagris and Ocyurus chrysurus), and three groupers (Cephalopholis fulva, Epinephelus morio and Mycteroperca bonaci) along the Abrolhos Bank, with an ultimate goal of proposing useful management units. Surveys were conducted in the main fishing ports, including fishers' interviews and fish size measures in landings. Data analysis allowed a precise fishing characterization, a grouping of stocks co-occurrence, and the mapping of fishing spots and grounds. Three stocks and seven fishing areas clusters were obtained and defined statistically, suggesting useful management units. Specific fishers' groups per fleet were identified as the main stakeholders to be consulted in fisheries plans. Spatial units based on the occurrence of snappers and groupers stocks were defined, having the “Parcel das Paredes” the greatest number of fishing spots and the lower fish sizes. Overall, findings contain unprecedented fine scale resolution units that clarifies and simplifies the connections among species, fleets, fishing areas and fishers. They should also strength the call for action to implement fisheries management in a broader ecosystem-scale context.
In remote and data-limited situations such as encountered in Arctic regions, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is an important and valuable information source. TEK from local fishers (fishers knowledge, FK) is highly relevant to fisheries management. The integration of FK in fisheries assessments remains complicated by the lack of tools to combine scientific and FK observations. This study implements a productivity-susceptibility analysis (PSA) for assessing the risk from fishing to fish stocks and incorporate FK in the assessment process. The PSA method consists of scoring productivity attributes of fish populations and susceptibility attributes affecting fisheries exposure and intensity. The method can be adapted to incorporate FK on two levels: (1) in the validation of biological data (indirect inclusion); and (2) in the definition and scoring of independent FK attributes (direct inclusion). Risk scores measured along the productivity-susceptibility gradient serve to identify areas and populations most vulnerable to fishing activities and formulate science advice for prioritisation and management. We apply the method to small-scale fisheries for Arctic char Salvelinus alpinus in Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island, Nunavut. These fisheries are key to food security and economic growth in Canada's Arctic territories, yet management remains complicated by data paucity; by the widespread distribution and biological complexity of Arctic char stocks; and by growing uncertainties related to climate change impacts on Arctic fish and ecosystems. This paper demonstrates the usefulness of the method for combining science and FK information to improve management advice for Arctic char stocks, and applicability to other small-scale, data-limited fisheries.
Despite marine fish being an important food resource for coastal communities, the amount of fish caught by small-scale fisheries is unsustainable at many locations. Fish consumers have a critical role in species conservation because they can choose responsibly and avoid consuming overexploited or endangered species. In this study, local human consumption patterns and local knowledge about groupers and sharks caught by small-scale local fisheries were investigated in a Brazilian coral reef complex. Fish consumers were interviewed in a fish market setting regarding their monthly fish consumption, knowledge of endangered species, and strategies they do to consume fish responsibly. Of the 126 local fish consumers, 94% and 76% reported to buying sharks and groupers, respectively, on a monthly basis. The main strategies they used to consume fish responsibly were 1) getting fishmonger's advice and 2) buying fish on reliable fish markets. Our findings are important to understanding fish consumption preferences, which can contribute to the implementation of educational initiatives aiming to raise consumers’ awareness regarding responsible consumption.
Groupers are important components of coastal ecosystems as well as a valuable resource for fisheries. Their populations are known to be decreasing throughout the world primarily due to over-exploitation. However, even the basic data for an effective management strategy is lacking. Interviews of a representative sample of 113 fishers in Turkey in the northeastern Mediterranean were conducted with specific questions regarding fishing gears, periods and areas as well as best day's catch and the sizes of fishes caught. Fishermen recognized Epinephelus marginatus, E. aeneus, E. costae, Hyporthodus haifensis, Mycteroperca rubra and Polyprion americanus distributed in the area. “Endangered” E. marginatus and “Near Threatened” E. aeneus were the dominant species of the grouper fishery. Based on best days’ catch values and reported lengths of fish caught, the northern coasts of Iskenderun Bay were found to be important for both species. Demersal longliners, spearguns, traps, anglers and demersal trawlers were reported catching groupers in the study area. Artisanal fishermen, especially demersal longliners contributed the most to the grouper fishery. Fishing pressure were subject to seasonal fluctuations, with decreasing reported catches during summer when threatened groupers spawn. Finally, some critical aspects of fishery pressure were related to the removal of juveniles which may lead to reproduction loss.
Iñupiaq, Yup'ik, and Cup'ik hunters in 14 Alaska Native communities described a rapidly changing marine environment in qualitative traditional knowledge interviews conducted over the course of a decade with 110 individuals. Based on their observations, sea ice conditions are the most notable change, with later freeze-up, thinner and less reliable ice, and earlier and more rapid break-up. Marine mammal populations in northern and western Alaska have been affected by changes in the physical environment, with alterations to migratory timing and routes, distribution, abundance, health, and behavior. Despite these changes, marine mammal populations in the region remain generally healthy and abundant. For hunters, access is the biggest challenge posed by changing conditions. Sea ice is less safe for travel, particularly for more southerly communities, making hunting more dangerous or impossible. Rapid break-up has reduced the time available for hunting amid broken ice in spring, formerly a dependable and preferred season. Social change also affects the ways in which hunting patterns change. Increased industrial development, for example, can also alter marine mammal distribution and reduce hunting opportunity. Reduced use of animal skins for clothing and other purposes has reduced demand. More powerful and reliable engines make day trips easier, reducing the time spent camping. An essential component of adjustment and adaptation to changing conditions is the retention of traditional values and the acquisition of new information to supplement traditional knowledge. Our findings are consistent with, and add detail to, what is known from previous traditional knowledge and scientific studies. The ways in which hunters gather new information and incorporate it into their existing understanding of the marine environment deserves further attention, both as a means of monitoring change and as a key aspect of adaptation. While the changes to date have been largely manageable, future prospects are unclear, as the effects of climate change are expected to continue in the region, and ecological change may accelerate. Social and regulatory change will continue to play a role in fostering or constraining the ability of hunters to adapt to the effects of climate change.