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.
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.
The ‘Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries’ developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has been central for the governance of fisheries. Most responsible fisheries initiatives are market-driven and motivate transitions towards greener economies. These added-value fish economies have increasingly connected fishing grounds to external markets that demand high quality sustainable products. This article problematizes the framework of responsible fishing and examines its intersections with place-base institutional processes in the Pacific coast of Colombia. In doing this, it explores how the concept of ‘responsible fishing’ has been framed, arguing that it has been used to operationalize the expansion of neoliberal processes in the oceans. It draws on small-scale fisheries performed by Afro-descendant people in the Gulf of Tribugá, where responsible fishing narratives have been linked to the creation of marine protected areas and responsible fish supply chains. Two dominant framings of responsible fishing were identified; a ‘sustainability’ framing that denotes the sustainable use of fishing resources, and a ‘technical’ framing that refers to the use of environmentally safe practices. However, none of these framings accounts for social responsibility. Instead they have enforced the division of fishing practices between ‘responsible’/‘irresponsible’, and produced static, ahistorical and oversimplified understandings of fishing dynamics. All this has triggered a local need for external control over fisheries governance, disempowering place-based control mechanisms. This article concludes by questioning whether responsible fishing can successfully ensure a sustainable use of fishing resources, or if moving beyond ‘responsibility’ is needed to strengthen local institutional processes and autonomy among coastal peoples.
The Marine Protected Area Governance (MPAG) framework was developed to offer a structured, empirical approach for analysing governance and has been applied to marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world. This study sees the novel application of the MPAG framework to a small-scale mangrove crab fishery in northwest Madagascar. The country typifies developing country environmental governance challenges, due to its poverty, political instability and lack of state capacity, with bottom-up approaches often identified as a potential solution. In this context, small-scale fisheries (SSF) play a vital role in food security and poverty alleviation but are vulnerable to over-exploitation. The case study examines community-based management, including the role of three nascent fishing association managing portions of the fishery, within a mangrove ecosystem. Despite issues with underrepresentation of fishers in local resource management organizations that have partial responsibility for the mangrove habitats, some management measures and incentives have been applied, including the replantation of mangroves and fishery-wide gear restrictions. However, the analysis highlights market forces and migration are drivers with negative synergistic effects that cannot be controlled by bottom-up management. Incentives identified as needed or in need or strengthening require the support of external actors, the state, industry and or NGO(s). Thus, governance approaches should seek integration and move away from polarised solutions (top-down vs- bottom-up). As shown by other MPAG case studies, effective governance is dependent on achieving 'resilience through diversity', in terms of the diversity of both the actors and the incentives they are able to collectively employ.
An Adaptive assessment and management toolkit has been developed for data-limited fisheries.
The toolkit is a comprehensive package for assessing and managing small-scale fisheries.
A simple but powerful open-source toolkit dashboard can be used online or offline.
The toolkit can accommodate varying degrees of data availability and multiple indicators.
The toolkit was piloted for nine species in Karimunjawa National Park, Indonesia.
For Pacific Island communities, social change has always been a part of their socio-political lives, while environmental changes were always transient and reversible, so that they understood and engaged with their ocean as a provider for food, culture and life. However, recent unprecedented and irreversible changes brought on by global climate change challenge this norm and alter their lagoons and adjacent oceans into unfamiliar territories. Climate change already is affecting, and has been projected to continue to disproportionately impact, Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) through rising temperatures, sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion of freshwater resources, coastal erosion, an increase in extreme weather events, altered rainfall patterns, coral reef bleaching, and ocean acidification. While knowledge is building about potential impacts on ecosystems and some target stocks, there is little information available for communities, governments and regional institutions on how to respond to these changes and adapt. What are the consequences for marine conservation, fisheries management and coastal planning at local, national and regional scales? What strategies and policies can best support and enable responses to these challenges across different scales? What opportunities exist to finance necessary climate change adaptation and mitigation measures? To consider these urgent issues, this paper synthesises innovative research methods, and studies many of the looming scientific, policy and governance challenges from a diversity of perspectives and disciplines.
The sustainable livelihood framework is a widely used approach to analyze changes in rural livelihoods, especially in resource dependent communities. The framework emphasizes that given a certain situation where the livelihood context, resources and institutions remain favourable, livelihood strategies carried out by people could possibly lead to two different outcomes. One, the results of livelihood strategies will produce sustainable outcomes providing affected households respite from the impacts of livelihood loss. Two, there is a possibility that resulting outcomes may not be sufficient to reverse livelihood crisis and may not necessarily result in sustainable livelihood because of the complexities, uncertainties and multilevel drivers associated with it. This paper aims to evaluate both these possibilities through use of empirical data to clarify factors and conditions that may impede sustainable livelihood outcomes despite well planned strategies. It highlights that availability of more resources (or capitals) do not necessarily contribute to more robust livelihood strategies or outcomes. Using the case of small scale fishery-based livelihood system of Chilika Lagoon, Bay of Bengal in the East coast of India, this paper suggests that the relationship between livelihood shocks and stresses, capitals, institutions and livelihood strategies is circular and not linear.
Extensive household and village level survey data are used to examine the processes of social-ecological change in Chilika from a livelihood perspective. It describes how through changes in context, resources and institutions, fishers in Chilika responded to the livelihood crisis, and how various strategies were used. It further examines the extent to which the outcomes of the strategies contributed to making fisher livelihoods sustainable. Conclusions drawn suggest that the outcomes of the livelihood crisis and responses from Chilika fishers have resulted in higher levels of their disconnection from the Lagoon and their marginalization. The multiplicity of ways through which fishers in Chilika perceive their livelihood suggest that livelihood in resource dependent communities, such as Chilika small-scale fisheries, is multidimensional and far more complex and dynamic than often perceived. Further innovations in approaches and tools will help better understand livelihood challenges and make related outcomes sustainable.
Data scarcity in small-scale fisheries hinders the effective management of marine resources. This is particularly true within small island developing states that often have limited capacity for monitoring activities that could inform policy decisions. This study estimates the spatial distribution of fishing activity in the data-poor nearshore reef fisheries of Barbados using low cost interview surveys of fishers combined with a geospatial platform. With data from over 150 fishers in the island's major reef fisheries, the estimated total annual yield ranged from 272.6 to 409.0 mt, with seine fishing accounting for 65% of landings. This estimate is substantially higher than the recorded landings in official databases. Fishing activity is concentrated on the sheltered and heavily populated West Coast of the island. Reef fishing effort decreases markedly during the months associated with the offshore pelagic fishery season, as many fishers switch fisheries during this time and rough sea conditions restrict access to the nearshore windward reefs. The high levels of fishing intensity and low yields per unit of reef area appear to validate anecdotal evidence that the nearshore reefs of Barbados are heavily overexploited. The qualitative nature of interview data and other data gaps hinder the precise estimation of fishing effort and yield, where relative values are likely to be more accurate than absolute values. Nonetheless, the spatially and temporally explicit data generated here demonstrates how simple cost-effective methods can be used to fill important information gaps for marine resource management and spatial planning.
Small-scale fisheries are undeniably important for livelihoods, food security and income around the globe. However, they face major challenges, including global market and demographic shifts, policy changes and climate variations that may threaten the wellbeing, health and safety of fishing communities. Over the years, various forms of spatial management have been implemented in small-scale fisheries as a potential solution to problems afflicting these systems. The benefits of such approaches can be numerous for both ecosystems and coastal communities. In addition to the persistent challenges influencing small-scale fisheries practices, the emerging effects of climate change pose serious risks to coastal ecosystems and fishing communities, especially in low-lying islands. Despite a growing recognition of both the benefits of spatial management and the adverse effects of climate change on small-scale fisheries, integration of these concepts in a consistent and comprehensive way has not yet occurred. Spatial management has the potential to foster small-scale fisheries adaptation to climate change, however, in the face of such a global and transboundary phenomenon, management strategies will need to be carefully designed and implemented. First, key considerations for climate-informed spatial management in small-scale fisheries were identified. Second, these key considerations were illustrated in two selected case studies in Pacific Island countries and territories (i.e. Fiji and Papua New Guinea). Finally, the challenges associated with spatial management in a changing climate are discussed and ways forward for advancing this type of management as a climate adaptation approach for small-scale fisheries in the Pacific and beyond are proposed.
Fisheries usually first remove large predators before switching to smaller species, causing lasting changes to fish community structure. Reef fish provide essential protein and income for many people, and the impacts of commercial and high-intensity subsistence fishing on reef fish are well documented. However, how fish communities respond to low levels of subsistence fishing using traditional techniques (fishing for food, few fishers) is less well understood. We use three atolls in the Marshall Islands as a model system to quantify effects of commercial and subsistence fishing on reef fish communities, compared to a near-pristine baseline. Unexpectedly, fish biomass was highest on the commercially-fished atoll where the assemblage was dominated by herbivores (50% higher than other atolls) and contained few top predators (70% lower than other atolls). By contrast, fish biomass and trophic composition did not differ between pristine and subsistence-fished atolls – top predators were abundant on both. We show that in some cases, reefs can support fishing by small communities to provide food but still retain intact fish assemblages. Low-intensity subsistence fishing may not always harm marine food webs, and we suggest that its effects depend on the style and intensity of fishing practised and the type of organisms targeted.