Managing for sustainable development and resource extraction requires an understanding of the feedbacks between ecosystems and humans. These feedbacks are part of complex social-ecological systems (SES), in which resources, actors, and governance systems interact to produce outcomes across these component parts. Qualitative modeling approaches offer ways to assess complex SES dynamics. Loop analysis in particular is useful for examining and identifying potential outcomes from external perturbations and management interventions in data poor systems when very little is known about functional relationships and parameter values. Using a case study of multispecies, multifleet coastal small-scale fisheries, we demonstrate the application of loop analysis to provide predictions regarding SES responses to perturbations and management actions. Specifically, we examine the potential ecological and socioeconomic consequences to coastal fisheries of different governance interventions (e.g., territorial user rights, fisheries closures, market-based incentives, ecotourism subsidies) and environmental changes. Our results indicate that complex feedbacks among biophysical and socioeconomic components can result in counterintuitive and unexpected outcomes. For example, creating new jobs through ecotourism or subsidies might have mixed effects on members of fishing cooperatives vs. nonmembers, highlighting equity issues. Market-based interventions, such as ecolabels, are expected to have overall positive economic effects, assuming a direct effect of ecolabels on market-prices, and a lack of negative biological impacts under most model structures. Our results highlight that integrating ecological and social variables in a unique unit of management can reveal important potential trade-offs between desirable ecological and social outcomes, highlight which user groups might be more vulnerable to external shocks, and identify which interventions should be further tested to identify potential win-win outcomes across the triple-bottom line of the sustainable development paradigm.
Mapping the spatial allocation of fishing effort while including key stakeholders in the decision making process is essential for effective fisheries management but is difficult to implement in complex small-scale fisheries that are diffuse, informal and multifaceted. Here we present a standardized but flexible approach that combines participatory mapping approaches (fishers’ spatial preference for fishing grounds, or fishing suitability) with socioeconomic approaches (spatial extrapolation of social surrogates, or fishing capacity) to generate a comprehensive map of predicted fishing effort. Using a real world case study, in Moorea, French Polynesia, we showed that high predicted fishing effort is not simply located in front of, or close to, main fishing villages with high dependence on marine resources; it also occurs where resource dependency is moderate and generally in near-shore areas and reef passages. The integrated approach we developed can contribute to addressing the recurrent lack of fishing effort spatial data through key stakeholders' (i.e., resource users) participation. It can be tailored to a wide range of social, ecological and data availability contexts, and should help improve place-based management of natural resources.
Balancing sustainability and conservation concerns with the socioeconomic needs of small-scale fishers is a dilemma that is commonly faced by fisheries managers. In this paper, we present a case study on managing the developing small-scale purse seine (or ring net) fishery introduced to Kenya by migrant fishers. The fishery, which primarily targets coastal pelagics in offshore waters, was deduced to have the potential of reducing fishing effort on nearshore demersal reef fish stocks while enhancing fisheries production and fisher livelihoods. The expanding fishery elicited much controversy resulting in resource use conflicts related to gear competition and concerns about the environmental impacts of the gear. We detail the consultative planning process that was undertaken to develop a gear-based management plan spanning over 10 years from 2004 to 2016. We briefly document the catch dynamics and evolution of the fishery, and further detail the challenges and key outcomes of the decision-making process. Regulatory measures agreed by stakeholders include restrictions on gear dimensions as well as spatial restrictions defining the distance and depth of operation. Effective implementation and enforcement of the measures will require collective action from all stakeholders. Future considerations should focus on harmonization of proposed measures in transboundary areas.
For marine fishes that form spawning aggregations, vulnerability to aggregation fishing is influenced by interactions between the spatio-temporal patterns of spawning and aspects of the fishery that determine fishing effort, catch, and catch rate in relation to spawning. We investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of spawning and fishing for the barred sand bass, Paralabrax nebulifer, in Punta Abreojos, Mexico from 2010 to 2012 as a means to assess its vulnerability to aggregation fishing by the local commercial fishery. Monthly, spatial patterns in gonadal development in collected females indicated that adults formed spawning aggregations at two sites in Punta Abreojos during July and August. Monthly patterns in the spatial distribution of fishing matched the spawning behavior of P. nebulifer, with effort and catch concentrated at spawning aggregation sites during those months. However, fishing effort, catch, and catch-per-unit effort did not increase during the spawning season, and fishing activities associated with the spawning season comprised only a small percentage of the total annual effort (22%) and catch (17%). Therefore, while the population of P. nebulifer at Punta Abreojos should be vulnerable to aggregation fishing due to the spatio-temporal dynamics of its spawning aggregations, vulnerability is greatly reduced, because fishing activities are not disproportionately focused on spawning aggregations and fishing methods are not optimized to maximize harvest from the aggregations. Differences between our results and previous studies on aggregation fisheries for P. nebulifer in California, USA, reinforce the importance of assessing factors influencing vulnerability to aggregation fishing at regional scales for prioritizing management efforts.
This article addresses the connections between value chain actors in the tropical-marine small-scale fisheries of Zanzibar, Tanzania, to contribute to a better understanding of the fisher-trader link and how connections in general might feed into livelihood security. A sample of 168 fishers and 130 traders was taken across 8 sites through questionnaires and observations. The small-scale fishery system is mapped using a value chain framework both traditionally and from a less economic point of view where the assistance-exchange networks between fishery actors add another layer of complexity. Auxiliary actors previously disregarded emerge from the latter method thus shedding light on the poorly understood distribution of benefits from seafood trade. Female actors participate quite differently, relative to males in the market system, detached from high-value links such as the tourist industry, and access to predetermined or secured sales deals. Data shows that the fisher-trader link is not as one-sided as previously presented. In fact it has a more symbiotic exchange deeply nested in a broader trading and social system. Expanding the analysis from this link by taking a further step downstream highlights traders’ own sales arrangements and the social pressures they are under in realizing them. A complex picture, inclusive of diversified perspectives, on interactions in the market place is presented, as well as a reflection on the remaining critical question: how to integrate this type of data into decisions about future fisheries governance.
To gauge the collateral impacts of fishing we must know where fishing boats operate and how much they fish. Although small-scale fisheries land approximately the same amount of fish for human consumption as industrial fleets globally, methods of estimating their fishing effort are comparatively poor. We present an accessible, spatial method of calculating the effort of small-scale fisheries based on two simple measures that are available, or at least easily estimated, in even the most data-poor fisheries: the number of boats and the local coastal human population. We illustrate the method using a small-scale fisheries case study from the Gulf of California, Mexico, and show that our measure of Predicted Fishing Effort (PFE), measured as the number of boats operating in a given area per day adjusted by the number of people in local coastal populations, can accurately predict fisheries landings in the Gulf. Comparing our values of PFE to commercial fishery landings throughout the Gulf also indicates that the current number of small-scale fishing boats in the Gulf is approximately double what is required to land theoretical maximum fish biomass. Our method is fishery-type independent and can be used to quantitatively evaluate the efficacy of growth in small-scale fisheries. This new method provides an important first step towards estimating the fishing effort of small-scale fleets globally.
This study aims to evaluate FAD use patterns, co-management arrangements and livelihoods of pelagic fisheries with particular emphasis on changes that have occurred in recent years, during the CARIFICO project. It also aims to assess the factors influencing the decision of fisheries to set and maintain public and private FADs.
Socio-economic development of small island fishing communities is greatly dependent on local coastal and marine resources. Illegal fishing and aggressive practices in insular ecosystems lead to overexploitation and environmental deterioration. Moreover, a lack of scientific data increases uncertainty and prevents adequate monitoring of marine resources. This paper focuses on the integration of a local fishing community into decision-making processes with the aim to potentiate artisanal fishing on the Island of Tenerife (the Canary Islands). The aim is to preserve both the marine ecosystem and promote the socio-economic development of traditional Cofradías (local fisher communities).
A qualitative methodological framework, based on participatory problem-solution trees and focus groups, was implemented to identify the main obstacles impeding the sustainable development of the artisanal fishing sector on the island. Collective proposals with policy implications are also discussed.
The community involved identified four main issues that are causing an unsustainable island fishery: 1) Overexploitation; 2) Poor self-management of Cofradías and commercialisation problems; 3) Fisher individualism and low co-management strategies, and 4) Illegal fishing increase vs. artisanal fishing decline. Results show the required policy enhancements to tackle those issues with, for instance, the creation of marine protected areas, the promotion of a common islander vision, and an increase in participatory research projects between scientists and fishers. Participants also revealed the necessity to adapt existing regulations to local specificity to reduce the gap between policy makers and local community.
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.
This paper examines factors influencing well-being among small-scale fishers in the Gulf of Thailand. 632 small-scale fishers were interviewed at 21 fish landing areas along the coast of Rayong Province. Data concerning respondents’ background information, perception of job satisfaction, resilience, conservation beliefs, environmental ethics, well-being and landing place context were collected. Multivariate statistical analyses of these variables are used to assess factors influencing perceptions of well-being (environmental and individual well-being components). The results demonstrate that two components of job satisfaction Basic Needs and Self-actualization are two significant variables affecting both Environmental and Individual well-being. Fishers living in areas with industrial pollution or in major urban communities are less satisfied with the environment. Similarly, fishers who are concerned about the importance of the environment and members of a fishery association at the province level have lower levels of Environmental well-being. The study also found that, fishers who feel they have the ability to get work elsewhere or who manifest a higher level of resilience are happier with their lives than those with lower resilience. An important aspect of fisheries social impact assessment concerning proposed changes, management or technological, is the impact on well-being. The findings of this study offer several practical findings that, if applied, will contribute to sustainability of fisheries in Thailand and similar locations.