Shallow rocky reef fish assemblages were studied in sites of low versus high fishing pressure (FP) across the Aegean Sea, in order to assess community structure at a large scale and investigate spatial variability in relation to FP, depth, and geographic location. A total of 15 pairs of high and low FP sites were selected (18 sites in North Aegean, 12 in South Aegean). The level of FP was defined based on a fishing pressure index specifically developed for coastal small-scale fisheries in the region. In each site, fish communities were investigated at two depth zones (5 and 15 m). Number of species, fish size (Total Length; TL) and abundance were recorded along strip transects through underwater visual surveys. Abundance and TL were used to estimate biomass, and fish species were assigned to distinct trophic and commercial status groups. An 8-fold range in fish density and a 14-fold range in fish biomass were detected, while community structure was affected by all variables considered (FP, depth, geographic location). The N Aegean sites scored higher in number of species and biomass of carnivorous fish, whereas the S Aegean had a higher biomass of several allochthonous and thermophilous species. Abundance and biomass estimates were higher in low FP sites, and primarily at the 15 m depth zone, where low FP sites had the double abundance and 2.8 times higher biomass. Biomass of carnivores was generally very low, except at deep sites of low FP. Given that sites of lower FP represent areas of lower conflicting interests for fisheries whilst providing enhanced biomass levels, they should be included in future marine conservation planning schemes, as they could contribute to the replenishment of fisheries and the boosting of conservation benefits provided by MPAs, once properly managed.
Marine megafauna (elasmobranchs, marine mammals, turtles, and seabirds) are important ecologically and economically because many species often occupy upper trophic levels as adults and are essential for marine-based tourism in many areas of the world. This group of species is also heavily impacted by fishing because most have late sexual maturity, longevity, and low reproductive output, which affects their ability to recover from depletion. In Galapagos, marine megafauna species are protected from fishing throughout the marine reserve and are the main attraction for marine-based tourism, helping generate millions of dollars in revenue annually. Despite their importance in the archipelago, these species are being caught as bycatch in the multiple artisanal longlining projects that have been carried out since the implementation of the reserve in 1998. Longlining was originally proposed as a way of redirecting fishing effort from the severely depleted coastal-demersal species to pelagic fish such as yellowfin tuna and swordfish. Although all these projects have resulted in high bycatch of megafauna, longline fishing projects have continued without independent scientific studies to evaluate their impact, largely due to poor objective definition, data collection, and enforcement. To fill in this knowledge gap, we analyzed data of the fifth experimental longline fishing project undertaken in 2012–2013 to describe the fishery, identify variables affecting the composition and quantity of bycatch, and suggest mitigation strategies. This experimental project had twelve vessels, which deployed 42,007 hooks catching 4893 individuals of 33 species, mostly yellowfin tuna and swordfish. Of those, 16 species were protected megafauna, particularly blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) and oceanic manta (Mobula birostris). These species were regularly captured during the two seasons and in the three bioregions that occur in the archipelago, suggesting little potential to mitigate their catch. As an alternative, we identified 14 hotspots where yellowfin tuna and swordfish could be harvested in large numbers sustainably through more selective fishing techniques such as pole fishing, a method that is also more economical for artisanal fishers. In an archipelago where the main economic activity is marine wildlife tourism, the implementation of an extractive and unselective activity such as pelagic longing fishing should be avoided to ensure the sustainability of the Galapagos marine ecosystem and its booming tourism industry.
Small-scale fisheries constitute an important component of coastal human societies. The present study describes the small-scale net fisheries on Kalymnos Island (south-east Aegean Sea) that harbors the largest small-scale fleet in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. In addition, this study aims to evaluate their characteristics and economics. Relevant métiers were identified through a multivariate analysis by inputting the main resources and fishing gear data that were recorded during landings. Four main practices were observed being used as fishing gears, gillnets and trammel nets, targeting the species Mullus barbatus, Boops boops, Mullus surmuletus, Scorpaena porcus, and Sepia officinalis. Further analysis, which incorporated data concerning the type of the gear used, revealed 11 distinct métiers. Most of these métiers are practiced by other Mediterranean small-scale fisheries as well, in terms of target species, gear and seasonality. However, the métier that had its target species as B.boops is not practiced in other Mediterranean small-scale fisheries. The seasonal rotation of métiers was determined by the availability of different species rather than their market price. The results revealed the difference in fishing practice used by the fishermen in the study area compared to other fishing practices in the Mediterranean Sea. In particular, the fishermen of this study area targeted more species (B.boops) with a very low market price. They also provided essential information for the development and implementation of management plans aiming at the sustainability of small-scale fisheries.
The historical lack of fishers’ participation in decision making had led to weak fishing management and explains the meagre results achieved so far in conserving marine resources. European Commission recommends greater participation by fishers in the decision-making process so that adopted measures will better reflect local circumstances. It should be easier to introduce co-management measures in fisheries that have a tradition of cooperative behaviour among groups of fishers, as is generally the case in the small-scale fishing sector. This paper studies how small-scale Galician fishers view greater participation in the decision-making process. The results show that fishermen are clearly in favour of increased participation—through their guilds and, to a lesser extent, alongside trade unions, producer organizations, and scientists. The results show that fishers also favour moving toward co-management on such issues as participating in the establishment of regulating mechanisms, monitoring compliance with fishing rules, and demarcating areas for sport fishing.
Coastal fishery systems in the Arctic are undergoing rapid change. This paper examines the ways in which Inuit fishers experience and respond to such change, using a case study from Pangnirtung, Canada. The work is based on over two years of fieldwork, during which semi-structured interviews (n = 62), focus group discussions (n = 6, 31 participants) and key informant interviews (n = 25) were conducted. The changes that most Inuit fishers experience are: changes in sea-ice conditions, Inuit people themselves, the landscape and the seascape, fish-related changes, and changes in weather conditions, markets and fish selling prices. Inuit fishers respond to change individually as well as collectively. Fishers’ responses were examined using the characteristics of a resilience-based conceptual framework focusing on place, human agency, collective action and collaboration, institutions, indigenous and local knowledge systems, and learning. Based on results, this paper identified three community-level adaptive strategies, which are diversification, technology use and fisheries governance that employs a co-management approach. Further, this work recognised four place-specific attributes that can shape community adaptations, which are Inuit worldviews, Inuit-owned institutions, a culture of sharing and collaborating, and indigenous and local knowledge systems. An examination of the ways in which Inuit fishers experience and respond to change is essential to better understand adaptations to climate change. This study delivers new insights to communities, scientists, and policymakers to work together to foster community adaptation.
The increasing technological efficiency of harvesting equipment has been identified as one of the main causes of overcapacity and overexploitation of natural resources. In this paper, a formal model is developed which studies the effects of technological efficiency as an endogenous variable within a bioeconomic system. We model capital investments in a fishery, where investment decisions are made less frequently than the allocation of variable inputs. We study how the possibility to invest in capital affects open access dynamics, and also the evolution of cooperative harvesting norms. We find that the possibility to make large capital investments can destabilize cooperation, especially if enforcement capacity is low. Further, we find that communities can preserve cooperation by agreeing on a resource level that is lower than socially-optimal. This reduces the incentive to deviate from the cooperative strategy and invest in capital.
Small-scale fishing communities are increasingly connected to international seafood trade via exports in a growing global market. Understanding how this connectedness impacts local fishery systems, both socially and ecologically, has become a necessary challenge for fishery governance. Market prices are a potential mechanism by which global market demands are transferred to small-scale fishery actors. In most small-scale fisheries (SSF) this happens through various traders (intermediaries, middlemen/women, or patrons). By financing fishing operations, buying and selling products and transferring market information, traders can actively pass international market signals, such as price, to fishers. How these signals influence fishers’ decisions and the consequent fishing efforts, is still poorly understood yet significant for future social-ecological sustainability. This paper uses an economic framed field experiment, in combination with interviews, to shed light on this. It does so in the context of the Philippine patron-client “suki” arrangement. Over 250 fishers in Concepcion, Iloilo were asked in an economic experiment, to make decisions about fuel loans in light of changing market prices. Interviews with participants and their patrons gathered additional information on relevant contextual variables potentially influencing borrowing. They included fisher characteristics and socio-economic conditions. Contrary to our hypotheses, fishers showed no response in their borrowing behavior to experimental price changes. Instead, gender and the previous experiment round were predictive of their choice of loans in the experiment. We explore possible reasons for this and discuss potential implications for social-ecological sustainability and fishery governance.
Citizen science is a rapidly growing field with well-designed and run citizen science projects providing substantial benefits for conservation and management. Marine citizen science presents a unique set of challenges and lags behind terrestrial citizen science, but also provides significant opportunities to work in data-poor fisheries. This paper analyses case studies of citizen science projects developed in collaboration with small-scale fishing communities in Mexico’s Pacific Ocean, Gulf of California and Caribbean Sea. The design and performance of these projects were evaluated against the previously published Ten Principles of Citizen Science, and Scientific Stages of Inquiry. Our results suggest that fisheries monitoring, submarine monitoring of no take zones, oceanographic monitoring, and the use of species identification apps by fishers meet the requirements of the published guidelines and are effective tools for involving the small-scale fishing community in science. Translating effective citizen science projects in to effective fishery management, however, is still at an early stage. Whilst citizen science data have been used locally by communities to adapt fishing practices, calculate recommendations for total allowable catches, establish and evaluate no take zones and detect range extensions of species affected by climate change, challenges remain regarding how to garner official recognition for the data, incorporate these growing sources of data into national policy, and use the data for adaptive management regimes at the national level.
The southern California rock crab fishery targets stocks comprised of three species: red (Cancer productus), yellow (Metacarcinus anthonyi), and brown rock crab (Romaleon antennarium). Fishers have expressed concern about the sustainability of the fishery due to increased fishing effort over the past decade, and because it is managed as one assemblage despite distinct life history differences among the species. We collaborated with fishers to test for stock-specific declines in key fishery-dependent indicators by replicating a 2008 study in 2016–2017 and comparing indicator values between years using multiple regression techniques. Indicators included spatially explicit species-level data for size, catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE), discard rate, sex composition, and trap location and depth across the heavily fished Santa Barbara Channel and Northern Channel Islands. Results showed significant declines in male size, overall CPUE, and proportion of crab landed versus discarded for heavily targeted stocks, translating to fewer pounds per trap and potential financial losses for fishers. Fishing and environmental conditions may have both contributed to stock declines. Evidence of decline differed substantially across space, species, and sex. We suggest that a spatially explicit and adaptive approach to empirically managing southern California rock crab may help to protect fishers from financial loss and avoid continued depletion of certain stocks, and we show that relatively simple collaborative approaches can provide defensible insight into complex systems.
The importance of institutions in structuring access to resources is well documented. However, despite the depth of the research, few studies have examined this systematically at the level of an individual fishing activity or, more specifically, within a women's fishery. This paper explores how fisherwomen access octopuses in a small-scale fishery in Mozambique, within a context where an increasing number of conservation initiatives are targeting women's fisheries and could potentially affect fisherwomen's access. The study was conducted within the Quirimbas National Park (QNP) in Cado Delgado, the northern most province of Mozambique. Combining ethnographic fieldwork and an institutional access map as a conceptual framework, this paper provides insight into the multiple institutions that structure how octopus fishing is organised and performed by fisherwomen. The access map reveals the dominant role local normative institutions play in influencing fisherwomen's access to income from fishing for octopus. Purdah, the religious practice of securing a woman's honour, is identified as a key restraining institution that is enforced through unequal gender relations. The paper encourages an understanding of the institutional context of fishing practices in order to promote access in small-scale fisheries (SSFs) to ensure fishers continue to benefit from the fishery in the face of management. The paper concludes that a greater appreciation of power relations – encapsulated in this study by gender relations – is required to further develop institutional analyses in small-scale fisheries policies and management.