As changes in climate, governance, and organization reshape the dynamics of small-scale fisheries around the globe, the persistence of many local livelihoods appears contingent upon the ability of resource users to respond and adapt. Though significant scholarship has considered the limiting roles of resources and infrastructure, recent research has highlighted the importance of local learning and knowledge. Rather than being driven by forces exogenous to local communities, it is increasingly recognized that adaptation may be limited by perceptions and processes within them. Here, we explore knowledge production and adaptive response within a small-scale fishery in the central Gulf of California following system perturbation. Using mixed methods from the natural and social sciences, we (1) identify local drivers of social-ecological change, (2) document knowledge concerning their causes and consequences across a diverse group of small-scale fishermen, and (3) identify patterns of intracultural agreement and disagreement associated with divergent adaptive response. Results indicate that perceptions of social-ecological change were heterogeneous and that gear ownership and target species diversification were critical factors in determining the cultural models through which fishermen understood and responded to changes in the resource system. Unlike other user groups, owner-operator fishermen pursuing generalist livelihood strategies held consensus beliefs regarding changes to system structure and function and demonstrated increased ability to modify fishing tactics with the best practices for sustainable use. Our findings highlight how local knowledge can be used to assess the proximate impacts of external drivers of change and provide insight into the cultural models influencing in situ decision-making and adaptive response within modern fishery systems.
The data requirements and resources needed to develop effective indicators of fishing impacts on target stocks may often be great, especially for mangrove fisheries where, for example, tidal cycles sequentially flood and drain the habitat as a result of natural processes. Here, we used underwater video systems to evaluate the impact of small-scale fisheries on mangrove fish assemblages at four levels of fishing pressure (low, medium, high, and no pressure). The lowest values of species richness and abundance were recorded in the areas fished most intensively. Conversely, the highest species richness and the occurrence of larger-bodied fish were recorded in areas of reduced fishing activity, which was surprisingly similar to the “no fishing” areas. The slopes of the community size spectra steepened in response to exploitation, while the relative abundance of medium-sized fish (16–25 cm) declined. Fishing for local or regional markets, rather than subsistence, also led to a decrease in the abundance of larger fish (>41 cm). The marked response of population parameters to fishing pressure reflected the impact of unregulated small-scale fisheries on areas of mangroves. Fishery management practices that ignore contemporary changes in these environments are likely to overestimate long-term yields, leading to overfishing. Thus, size-based approaches to evaluating fishing pressure were suitable for detecting negative responses from the mangrove fish assemblages. A next step will be to integrate size- and species-based ecological approaches that provide mechanisms to address pronounced decreases in specific species as a more profitable indicator of fishing impacts on mangrove fish assemblages. This approach will allow the development of effective conservation and management strategies.
In the Pacific Northwest, residents are mobilizing to prevent the coastal export of fossil fuels and protect unique ecosystems and place-based communities. This paper examines the diverse groups, largely from the Bellingham area, and how they succeeded in blocking construction of what was to be the largest coal-shipping port in North America, the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT). Tribes, environmental organizations, faith-based groups, and other citizen groups used a multitude of approaches to prevent development, both independently and in concert. This paper reviews the various ways in which the groups collaborated and supported one another to resist the neoliberalization of the coast and support local sovereignty, unique ecosystems, and place-based communities. Groups like Power Past Coal, Protect Whatcom, and Coal-Free Bellingham fought for important and protective changes and evidenced communitywide political support, but the sovereign rights of the Lummi Nation were the legal bar to constructing the coal terminal.
Commercial small‐scale fishing in the Mediterranean Sea accounts for more than 80% of the commercial fishing fleet. Commercial small‐scale fishing competes with non‐professional fishing, such as recreational and illegal fishing. Fisheries statistics usually fail to report non‐professional fishing data. The aim of this study was to investigate the competition between fishing categories (commercial, recreational and illegal fishing) and their temporal variability in two future Marine Protected Areas in Tunisia. Over a 2‐year period, 213 small‐scale coastal fisheries landings were monitored. Additional socio‐economic information was collected using direct questionnaires. Results highlighted that: (a) at least 47.91% of non‐professional fishers admitted selling the catch (and so were classified as illegal fishers); (b) illegal and recreational fishing mean catch per fishers per day, represented, respectively, 40% and 20% of commercial fishing; (c) catch rates and species richness for illegal and commercial fishing followed the same temporal patterns at both locations; (d) all fishing categories fished high trophic levels and vulnerable species; and (e) potential economic values of illegal and recreational fishing catch were significantly higher than those of commercial fishing. These findings provide quantitative evidence of competition between illegal and legal (commercial and recreational) fishing in the Mediterranean Sea.
In the early 2000s, Senegal set up several Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along its coastal zone with the purpose of biodiversity conservation and to support sustainable management of fisheries. However, the impact of MPAs may vary according to the type of fisheries. In Senegal, the sardinella fishery accounts for 70% of total catches. This fishery is of crucial importance for national food security and employment. Given this importance, it is necessary to evaluate the impact of MPAs, often being considered as a tool for fisheries management. An analytical, dynamic and spatial bio-economic model of sardinella fishery, considering fish and fisher migration, has been developed and scenarios over forty years have been analyzed. The results show that the fishery is economically overexploited and that Senegal could lose about 11.6 billion CFA over forty years of exploitation, i.e. 290 million CFA per year. To achieve an optimal level of exploitation, it would be necessary to halve the current fishing capacity. Implementing MPAs for 10, 20 and 30% of the Senegalese exclusive economic zone lead to slight increases in biomass (1%) and rent (5–11%). In addition, spatio-temporal closures can lead to increased exploitation in unclosed areas, due to the absence of enforcement. Achieving target 11 of the Aichi Convention, i.e., 10% of coastal and marine areas protected per country, will have a reserve effect on the resource but also only lead to weak improvements in economic indicators for the Senegalese fishery. Finally, because the sardinella resource is shared among many countries of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), a sub-regional cooperation is necessary for a sustainable management.
Fishers’ spatial behavior affects their incomes, livelihoods and ecological sustainability and is affected by establishment of protected areas, and the impacts of changing climate and weather patterns. An understanding of fishers’ spatial behavior is essential for evaluating catch trends or estimating per-area yields. Location choice by fishers has largely been understood through foraging models and empirical studies in large scale, developed country fisheries. This paper uses participatory mapping, logbooks and remotely sensed weather (wind speed) data to explore the influence of weather and capital on the spatial behavior and success of coastal Kenyan small-scale fishers. We test generalized foraging models of fisher behavior. A reef crest separates available fishing grounds in the study area between two distinct areas of dissimilar fish catches. Over half of the fishing trips accessed grounds outside the reef, particularly in the calmer northeast monsoon season. Trips across the reef were more successful both in terms of catch and value per fisher and price per kg. Access across the reef was determined primarily by season but was also affected by métier and daily wind speeds. Amongst a sample of non-motorised trips, crossing the reef was the most important variable for predicting Value Per Unit Effort (VPUE). Other things equal, more productive grounds ought to attract more effort, but access to the fishing grounds beyond the reef is constrained by fishers’ access to capital, fluctuations in weather and the interaction between these variables. Fishers with low levels of capital are more affected by daily weather that limits access to the more profitable fishing grounds. Fishers with more capital are able to access more productive grounds more freely, but at the expense of extra compensation for the capital needed. Thus while gross returns to offshore trips exceed similar returns for nearshore trips, net returns are likely to be more equal. In our study a stark exception to the pattern of higher returns from more capitalised gear is the relatively high VPUE achieved by spear fishers, making the assumption of free movement of labour between gears not valid. The study also adds a temporal complexity to this picture by showing the likelihood of accessing grounds beyond the reef crest varies temporally by season.
Small-scale capture fisheries have a very important place globally, but unfortunately are still mostly unregulated. Typically, they are defined based on capture fisheries characteristics, technical attributes of fishing vessels, and socio-economic attributes of fishers. Indonesia uses the term ‘small-scale fisher’ (nelayan kecil), currently defined to include fishing boats of < 10 gross tons (GT), which previously covered only boats of < 5 GT. Because small-scale fishers are by law granted a privilege by government to be exempted from fisheries management measures (e.g. fisheries licensing system), its current definition jeopardizes fisheries sustainability and significantly increases the size of unregulated and unreported fisheries. It is also unfair, as it legitimizes the payment of government support to relatively well-off fishers. This paper aims to develop a functional definition of small-scale fisheries (perikanan skala kecil) to guide policy implementation to improve capture fisheries management in Indonesia. A definition of small-scale fisheries is proposed as a fisheries operation, managed at the household level, fishing with or without a fishing boat of < 5 GT, and using fishing gear that is operated by manpower alone. This definition combines attributes of the fishing vessel (GT), the fishing gear (mechanization), and the unit of business decision making (household) to minimize unregulated and unreported fishing and focus government aid on people who are truly poor and vulnerable to social and economic shocks. The terms small-scale fisheries and small-scale fishers must be legally differentiated as the former relates to fisheries management and the latter relates to empowerment of marginalized fishers.
In the Mediterranean Sea, the dominant type of fisheries is small-scale. Coastal communities remain dependent on fisheries for their income, some of them with limited potential for economic diversification. The top-down micro-management regime has proven ineffective to secure ecological and social sustainability as it lacks flexibility and adaptation to local and regional conditions. This paper explores the advantages of using a participatory approach and a bio-economic model to develop management scenarios in a high value small-scale shrimp trap fishery in Greece. Seeking active stakeholder involvement throughout the management process advanced the identification of management measures aiming at MSY, with high levels of acceptance from stakeholders. It also increased transparency and legitimacy of the proposed management measures and could be considered as a first step towards co-management and regionalization. The participatory approach undertaken could promote compliance and facilitate the transition to sustainable fishing, ensuring the viability of coastal communities and, thus, social sustainability.
An important step in fishery management is to classify fishing vessels by their technical, power, range and impact capacities. This allows management improvement for environmental, social and economic purposes. Technical features are commonly used to classify vessels, but are inadequately addressed for small-scale fisheries (SSF), especially in estuaries. This study analyzed 685 small fishing vessels in order to determine the best way to classify them and suggest how this can improve estuarine SSF management. Technical features, target species, and the degree of urbanization and income of the community were considered. Estuarine-dependent vessels differ from coastal vessels. Their simpler technology increases overlaps of target species and fishing gear. Technical features commonly used to classify vessels (length, engine power and tonnage) are inappropriate for those with low technology. Instead, the degree of technical homogeneity, the number of fishing gears, and the overlap of target species should be considered. We suggest the classification of vessels in management units for estuarine small-scale vessels: a group of vessels operating in the same area, with very low technology, similar fishing range and fishing capacity, a multi-gear pattern, and high target species overlap. Vessels with different main fishing gear may represent the same management unit, because the simple technology required by each gear allows the same vessel to uses several types. The multi-gear and multi-species strategy impairs the use of traditional gear-based management, yet enables low-income fishermen to continue fishing. Vessels with lower technology were observed in less-urbanized communities and had lower income, and therefore these fishermen depend more on the estuarine fishery. Financial capacity stimulates technology and increases fishing capacity, range and gear specialization. Simple technology may help to improve food security and alleviate poverty by maximizing catch diversity. This study identified management units through a novel use of the features of small-scale vessels. We discuss important issues that influence the technological development of small-scale vessels and how this method may improve SSF management.
Are coastal communities relevant in fisheries management? Starting from what Svein Jentoft has had to say about the topic, we explore the idea that viable fishing communities require viable fish stocks, and viable fish stocks require viable fishing communities. To elaborate and expand on Jentoft’s arguments, first, we discuss values as a key attribute of communities that confer the ability to manage coastal resources. Turning to power, next we explore why fishing communities need to be empowered by having the opportunity to self-manage or co-manage resources. Third, regarding community viability, we make the argument that (1) rebuilding or maintaining viable fishing communities and fish stocks cannot succeed without first dealing with vulnerabilities, and that (2) the dimensions of vulnerability involve increase/decrease in well-being, better/poorer access to capitals, and building/losing resilience. The idea that healthy fishing communities and healthy fish stocks require one another implies a viable system that contains both, a social-ecological system view. The values embedded in communities enable them to manage resources. Thus, managers and policy makers need to imagine healthy fishing communities who take care of resources, and this positive image of communities is more likely than present policies to lead to viable fishing communities as well as viable fish stocks.