Southern Bering Sea fishermen are vulnerable to losing access to key fisheries due largely to policy changes, permit loss, and the expense of fishing operations. Local residents generally do not have fishing rights in many of the high value commercial fisheries. They must continuously shape policy and explore alternative economies in order to stay fishermen. We were contracted by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to study the role of subsistence and commercial fisheries, land use, socioeconomics, and sharing networks in Alutiiq and Aleut/Unangan villages. Through an exploration of these data using innovative social network analysis that presents relationships, social stratification, commercialisation, and other dependencies in the maintenance of fisheries, sharing, trading, and revenue streams, this paper shows that in two of the most socioeconomically valuable fisheries, king crab (Paralithodes sp. and Lithodes sp) and cod (Gadidae), local peoples have had to gain access to these foods by using means outside of what are academically perceived as their traditional subsistence and commercial allocation, resulting in adaptive networks of distribution. This work shows the range of networks surrounding these key foods and their associated vulnerabilities and resilience. Those sharing networks that demonstrate greater interconnectedness are much more stable and resilient.
These Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication have been developed as a complement to the 1995 FAO Code
of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (the Code). They were developed to provide complementary guidance with respect to small-scale fisheries in support of the overall principles and provisions of the Code. Accordingly, the Guidelines are intended to support the visibility, recognition and enhancement of the already important role of small-scale fisheries and to contribute to global and national efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty. The Guidelines support responsible fisheries and sustainable social and economic development for the benefit of current and future generations, with an emphasis on small- scale fishers and fish workers and related activities and including vulnerable and marginalized people, promoting a human rights- based approach.
It is emphasized that these Guidelines are voluntary, global in scope and with a focus on the needs of developing countries.
We engaged in collaborative research with two small-scale fishing communities inside the Upper Gulf of California Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, San Felipe (SF) and El Golfo de Santa Clara (GSC), to test how well the geographic heterogeneity of fishing activities within the reserve coincided with current regulations. We compared the two communities in terms of catch composition, fishing effort, ex-vessel prices and revenues, seasonal patterns in fishing activities in relation to the reproductive seasons of target species, and spatial patterns of fishing in relation to managed zones within the reserve. The top four species (Cynoscion othonopterus, Micropogonias megalops, Scomberomorus concolor, Litopenaeus stylirostris) in terms of relative effort, catch, and revenues were the same for both communities but overall fisheries production, effort, and revenues were higher in GSC than SF for these species. Fishing activities in GSC followed a predictable annual cycle that began with L. stylirostris and were followed sequentially by the harvesting of C. othonopterus, M. megalops, and S. concolor during their respective spawning seasons, which were associated with seasonal variations in ex-vessel prices. Conversely, catch and revenues in SF were more diversified, less dependent on those four species, less seasonal, and did not show seasonal variations in prices. Interactions between fisheries and managed zones also differed such that SF interacted mainly with the southwest portion of the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) refuge, whereas GSC fished over a larger area and interacted mainly with the northeast portion of the vaquita refuge and the no-take zone. Our results indicate the two communities differ markedly in their socio-economic dependence on fisheries, their spatio-temporal patterns of fishing, their use of and impacts on species, coastal ecosystems and managed areas, and how different regulations may affect livelihoods. Regional management and conservation efforts should account for these differences to ensure the protection of endangered species and to sustain ecosystem services that maintain livelihoods and healthy coastal ecosystems. This study provides further evidence of the ability of collaborative research between scientists and fishers to produce robust and fine-scale fisheries and biological information that improves the collective knowledge and management of small-scale fisheries within marine protected areas.
This paper integrates institutional theories of the commons with insights from geography and human behavioral ecology to explore the spatial and temporal dynamics of artisanal fishing in Ecuador's coastal mangrove swamps. The focus is on the cockle fishery commons characterized by a mixture of formal institutional arrangements and an informal division of fishing space that partially influences fisher decisions about where and when to fish. Individual decisions are further explained to a certain degree by the patch choice model since fishers often move on to new grounds when their catch rates fall below average. These optimizing strategies requiring rotation within a socially produced fishing space may contribute to resource renewal, perceived reliable returns for individuals, and a relative stability in fishing effort, potentially mitigating against resource depletion in open-access areas not managed as a common property regime. This study of the interaction between shellfish harvesters, cultural institutions, and the environment contributes to a spatially explicit theory of the commons and points to the crucial role of resource user mobility and dynamic cultural institutions for the ecological sustainability of shellfish fisheries. A better understanding of feedback between individual decision-making and the self-organization of a social-ecological system has critical implications for policy design and fisheries management at similar scales.
Depending upon the institutional framework, coral reef ecosystems and local economic development can be synergistic. When managed properly through local institutions, coral reef systems can deliver ecosystem services that create livelihoods and increase local prosperity in dependent communities. This study compares two community-based reef management institutions. One is located in a community with a reef struggling to recover from destructive fishing, the other in a community that has experienced a remarkable recovery. Using mixed methods, long-form interviews, and surveys of reef tourism stakeholders, this uses institutional characteristics to predict reef quality. Certain institutional components hypothesized to predict reef quality did not; these include universal membership requirements for reef stakeholders, stakeholder familiarity with leadership and hierarchies, and transparent decision-making and implementation of management policy. This means that one size fits all prescriptions for local reef management institutions should be viewed with caution. Instead, the success of management institutions may depend upon both the path toward economic development, access to technology that facilitates coral recovery, and communication of conservation strategies to tourist visitors.
One shortcoming of marine protected areas (MPA) implementation is the potential for unintended consequences, such as fisheries effort displacement, that cause negative economic and social effects for fishermen and undermine social support for MPA implementation efforts.
The objective of this work is to analyse the effects of a proposed MPA system on fisheries in a biodiversity conservation priority site in northern Chile using a spatial dynamic modelling approach and incorporating ecological, social and economic criteria.
We developed an Ecospace model representing the ecological benthic subsystems dominated by kelp beds off the Mejillones Peninsula, Chile. We compared changes in fisheries indicators and the spatial distribution of effort among a no-MPA baseline scenario and four scenarios using proposed MPA core and buffer zones with high or low dispersal rates for the species in the model.
An overlay analysis was performed to identify which zones and users of the fishing grounds would be affected by the proposed MPA system and to what degree.
We found a high degree of overlap of the proposed MPA site with fishing grounds of high economic importance and with a fishing ground where women are allowed to work, this can cause significant displacement of women that have no alternative livelihood, with possible undesired social impacts on the fishing community.
Results from the kelp forest spatial food web model reveals that the biomass build-up of fished species is sensitive to dispersal rates, especially in scenarios with small reserves. A general pattern of fishing effort reallocation at the border of individual MPAs and open areas closer to the port was observed. Fisheries indicators show negative effects for both MPA scenarios, with undesirable changes in catch and profits for rockfish and kelp exploitation.
Our results suggest that implementation of the MPA proposal for the Mejillones Peninsula could generate negative consequences for the fishing community of Constitución cove. The inclusion of fisheries management objectives along with biodiversity conservation in the planning process of the Mejillones Peninsula MPA system may help to address putative negative effects on fisheries and may allow for the creation of support for future MPAs from the fishermen community.
On June 9, 2014 the Committee of Fisheries (COFI) of FAO adopted the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF-Guidelines). For millions of small-scale fisheries people around the world, this was no doubt a historic event and a potential turning point. The challenge now is to make sure that they will be implemented. As the SSF-Guidelines address issues that are politically contentious, there are reasons to expect that they will be met both with enthusiastic acclamation and criticism, as already happened in the negotiations of the text. This paper discusses the opportunities and obstacles for their implementation.