The sustainable governance and management of small-scale fisheries (SSF) is challenging, largely due to their dynamic and complex nature. Agent-based modeling (ABM) is a computational modeling approach that can account for the dynamism and complexity in SSF by modeling entities as individual agents with different characteristics and behavior, and simulate how their interactions can give rise to emergent phenomena, such as over-fishing and social inequalities. The structurally realistic design of agent-based models allow stakeholders, experts, and scientists across disciplines and sectors to reconcile different knowledge bases, assumptions, and goals. ABMs can also be designed using any combination of theory, quantitative data, or qualitative data. In this publication we elaborate on the untapped potential of ABM to tackle governance and management challenges in SSF, discuss the limitations of ABM, and review its application in published SSF models. Our review shows that, although few models exist to date, ABM has been used for diverse purposes, including as a research tool for understanding cooperation and over-harvesting, and as a decision-support tool, or participatory tool, in case-specific fisheries. Even though the development of ABMs is often time- and resource intensive, it is the only dynamic modeling approach that can represent entities of different types, their heterogeneity, actions, and interactions, thus doing justice to the complex and dynamic nature of SSF which, if ignored can lead to unintended policy outcomes and less sustainable SSF.
Small-scale shark and ray fisheries are conducted throughout Central America’s Caribbean coast. Yet, there is limited information regarding catch composition and diversity of these fisheries, especially in Guatemala. Surveys of catch landings were conducted in two of Guatemala’s primary Caribbean coastal shark and ray fishing communities, El Quetzalito and Livingston, between January 2015 and July 2017. Biological data from 688 landed chondrichthyans were collected, with 31 species (24 sharks, six rays and one chimaera) identified. The four most frequently captured species included Carcharhinus falciformis (30.2%), Sphyrna lewini (12.7%), Hypanus guttatus (12%) and Rhizoprionodon spp. (6.7%). Landed sharks contained most size classes with a high proportion of juveniles of species with low productivity. The large-bodied species C. falciformis and S. lewini were often recorded at sizes below known maturity; 96.6% and 85.1%, of the captured individuals were immature, respectively. This study can serve as a baseline to determine future trends in the elasmobranch fisheries conducted by Guatemala’s Caribbean coastal communities and support assessments on the persistence of the fisheries.
The Natura 2000 Network is the world’s largest coordinated network of protected areas. The PNSACV is part of the 168 protected sites established under the Natura 2000 Network in Portugal. Direct interactions between large marine vertebrates, such as sea turtles, cetaceans and seabirds and the world fisheries are very common and can be a serious threat to many populations. Interviews were conducted between September and December of 2018 to gather information on the fishing fleet operating in the park, the presence of marine protected species (MPS) and the eventual conflicts between the marine life and the fisheries. The majority of the fishers interviewed operating in the park reported to use bottom set nets (38.7%), the rest operated pots and traps (18.7%), longlines (16%) and purse seine (6.7%). From all the fishermen interviewed (n=75), one fifth (20%) reported to operate polyvalent boats. The most sighted species in the PNSACV were the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) and the northern gannet (Morus bassanus). All the fishermen interviewed reported to have some kind of interaction with the MPS studied, being the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the northern gannet (Morus bassanus) reported as the most interactive species. Although interactions do not seem to have a significant economic impact to the fishermen, some relevant bycatch events of some species in specific gears (e.g bottlenose dolphins and northern gannet in bottom set nets, common dolphins and yellow-legged gull in purse seine) were observed. This is a consequence of the obvious overlap between their distribution range and the more frequently used fishing grounds and arises some awareness on continuing efforts to monitor closely the impact of coastal fisheries on the mortality of marine protected species.
The success of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) depends on the effective participation of small-scale fishers (SSFs), and the extent to which marine governance in general can address the problems they face. As Poland's MSP in areas that are key to small-scale fisheries are yet to begin, this paper explores tensions in the country's looming coastal MSP processes through clarifying both the risks faced by SSFs and their perspectives on MSP. Using semi-structured interviews with SSFs and analytical literature reviews on small-scale fisheries, it is found that Poland's MSP is cast against a contentious history of marine resource management that shapes negative perceptions of and attitudes towards both the European Union-mediated MSP and marine scientists. Notably, SSFs believe that (1) authorities often undervalue and underutilize their experiential knowledge, (2) MSP is intended primarily to facilitate the siting of offshore wind farms and, (3) scientific knowledge is either not effectively communicated or is at the service of investors. A discussion follows that proposes measures through which planners can ensure procedural fairness. The paper concludes by offering TURF-Reserves as a novel and integrated co-management system within MSP which has potentials for empowering SSFs and revitalizing Poland's small-scale fisheries, while ensuring effective marine protection.
Environmental NGOs are increasingly called upon to respect human rights when undertaking conservation programs. Evaluating a family planning program running alongside marine management measures in Madagascar, we find that family planning services provided by an environmental NGO can support women’s reproductive rights. Family planning services allow the option of smaller families, and give more time to work, increased income and better health. These benefits do not translate into increased support for, or participation in, marine management, however, and women who are able to work more are typically fishing more. We identify patriarchal norms as a key factor preventing the family planning programme from manifesting in improved resource stewardship, limiting opportunities for women to participate fully in resource management meetings and diversify their livelihood outside traditional tasks, including fishing. We propose that a successful human rights-based approach must be more comprehensive, targeting multiple rights and challenging existing institutions and power structures.
• Non-state community actors play a proactive role in discharging the fishery management functions.
• The fishers in South Kerala, India make collective decisions through a Church-mediated community fishery management system.
• Kadakkody, a non-state system prevalent in North Kerala serves several parallel legal functions within the fishing community.
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.