Small‐scale coastal fisheries (SSCF) in the Western region of Ghana are affected by a combination of climate and non‐climate stressors. Coastal communities are particularly vulnerable to these stressors because of their proximity to the sea and high dependence on small‐scale fisheries for their livelihoods. A better understanding of how fishing communities, particularly SSCF, respond to climate and non‐climate stressors is paramount to improve planning and implementation of effective adaptation action. Drawing on the capitals framework, this study examines the adaptive capacity of SSCF to the combined effects of climate‐related (increasing coastal erosion, and wave and storm frequency) and non‐climate‐related stressors (declining catches; scarcity and prohibitive cost of fuel; inconsiderate implementation of fisheries laws and policies; competition from the oil and gas industry; sand mining; and algal blooms). The findings show how fishers mobilise and use adaptive capacity through exploitation of various forms of capital, including cultural capital (e.g., local innovation); political capital (e.g., lobbying government and local authorities); social capital (e.g., collective action); human capital (e.g., local leadership); and natural capital (e.g., utilising beach sand) to respond to multiple stressors. Nevertheless, in many cases, fishers’ responses were reactive and led to negative (maladaptive) outcomes. Furthermore, this study underscores the importance of critically considering the interactive nature of capitals and how they collectively influence adaptive capacity in the planning and implementation of adaptation research, policy and practice.
This paper proposes an ‘exploratory mapping’ approach that can be employed in the early stages of a marine protected area planning process. While stakeholders' involvement in conservation has increased, it often only starts after the decision has been made about where the protected areas will be located. The lack of proper engagement with resource users raises questions about transparency and legitimacy of marine conservation initiatives, hampering their successful implementation. The proposed mapping approach offers a simple way to incorporate in the planning process what small-scale fishers consider to be important to conserve, what they value in their fishing livelihoods, and their perception about the likely impact that multiple uses of the area may cause. Conducted in a small group setting, the exploratory mapping approach is casual and conversational, using paper maps and markers to capture information and stories as they are told. The approach was tested with 14 small-scale fishers living near the Marine National Park of Currais Islands, Southern Brazil. The mapping results, based on the GIS analysis, show a high level of agreement among the study participants with respect to the ecological importance of the area under protection. The participants emphasized that, in addition to its ecological significance, the area is also important in economic and socio-cultural terms, aspects that should be considered in the planning. The study highlights how the exploratory mapping approach can provide decision makers with useful information about small-scale fishers' values and knowledge, which can help identify potential conflicts and enhance support for marine protected areas.
We combined different data sources to analyse key changes in the shellfisheries of Galicia (NW Spain). The shellfishing capacity of this region, a major fishing power in Europe, has been severely reduced in recent decades. The number of vessels has fallen by 13%, vessel length, capacity and engine power have decreased by 10%, 7% and 3%, respectively, while the number of on-foot shellfishers has halved. Landings and sale value of shellfish species have declined in the last decade by 16% and by 13%, respectively. This decline follows a period of recovery from the mid-1980s, when coastal fishery management were transferred from the Spanish to the regional government. Production of local clam species has been progressively abandoned in favour of the foreign Japanese carpet shell Ruditapes philippinarum, leading to losses in sales value and increasing market risks. Overfishing, poaching, degradation of habitats, pollution, disease outbreaks and ocean warming may be responsible for the drop in landings and sales value of key species like edible cockle Cerastoderma edule and Atlantic goose barnacle Pollicipes pollicipes. Despite the development of new fisheries, e.g. algae, anemone and polychaete harvesting, the overall declining trend has important socioecological implications for Galician society, because of the traditional link between shellfishing and coastal communities. The socioecological sustainability of this sector requires policies to be developed by the regional government regarding the support of multidisciplinary research and surveillance, increase control over pollution and poaching, a greater focus on the production of native species and the strengthening of co-management frameworks.
Women play an important role within small-scale fishing communities in the South Pacific, contributing to food security and income. Yet, decisions on the management of coastal fisheries are mostly taken by male community leaders. Given that women and men interact with marine spaces differently, there is a need to further analyze women’s and men’s differentiated roles and participation in marine resource use and governance. This study does so by drawing on qualitative data from a case study in Solomon Islands. In the fishing community studied here, women had crucial and differentiated effects on social, economic, and ecological sustainability. Our study reveals that women provided significant social and economic benefits to their families and the broader community. At the same time, we find that some women were inclined towards breaking local marine management rules (i.e., potentially lowering positive ecological effects of the conservation efforts) because (1) women had been little involved in the decision-making with regard to local marine management; (2) women had partly lost trust in the local male leadership due to a perceived misuse of money; and (3) women were more constrained in their fishing activities because a marine closure was located where mainly women used to fish. Our study highlights the importance of paying attention to women’s needs and actions in the governance of the fishery—including both the positive as well as potentially negative consequences thereof. Furthermore, our study shows that, besides gender, other socio-cultural variables (i.e., religious denomination and place of birth) shaped a person’s role and interactions in the fishery. It thus adds weight to intersectional approaches to gender.
We examine the benefits flowing from a coastal seascape through seafood trade to various social groups in two distinct small-scale fishery case studies. A knowledge gap currently exists in relation to how benefits from a fishery, and the associated trade, are ultimately distributed, specifically, how market structures and relations, and the combined dynamics of the local fishing society, can mediate these flows. Previous research into improved fisheries governance for food and livelihood security has failed to integrate the structure of the market place as well as the multidimensional nature of actor relations that influence extractive behavior. Using a value chain framework, we take a relational approach to study these gaps. Surveys were conducted in two fisheries (Zanzibar and the Philippines) as part of a comparative analysis including market-types, assistance networks, and income inequality. Chain structures, gender roles, and levels of contractualization within the two cases differed vastly, appearing to give rise to different types of income inequalities and barriers to participation. In the Philippines economic exchanges revolve more around provision of financial capital, although in both systems social standing and obligations play a role in determining market structures. In Zanzibar trading agents engaging customers in predetermined sale arrangements earn relatively more than their counterpart freelancers, however at the production level no income differences are seen between those with or without arrangements. Both cases stand to be further integrated into the international seafood market, which raises questions over how certain actors will benefit, based on their current participation and access. Results emphasize the need for more evidence in regards to benefits flows and how aspects such as gender and transaction forms impact them. This is necessary for governance decisions around fisheries, poverty alleviation, and increased global market integration.
Many small-scale fisheries are multi-species, and the catch composition can vary according to available habitats, fishing modes, and fisher groups. Here, we applied novel analyses for understanding the factors affecting differences in catch composition among fishers, which should be useful for planning regulatory measures and fishery development initiatives. Interviews with 235 artisanal fishers in Fiji were used to analyse how fishers' catch composition of 22 species of sea cucumbers varied across geographic scales (locations and villages within locations), genders, and fishing modes. Venn diagrams illustrated that gleaning and SCUBA diving were practiced to varying extents among locations and genders, whereas fishers used breath-hold diving more uniformly across the fishery. Segmented bubble plots revealed spatial variations in catch composition across the fishery. A PERMANOVA analysis found that species catch composition varied most across the two geographic scales and, secondarily, among fishing modes and between men and women. Gendered differences in catch composition were variable from one village to another, and so should not be generalized. SIMPER analyses showed that gleaners and SCUBA divers caught significantly different suites of sea cucumber species. Species threatened with extinction were among those typifying catches of SCUBA divers. Our novel graphical techniques are useful for visualizing fishing modes and catches across other fisheries. Artisanal fisheries may exhibit strong heterogeneity in catches at multiple spatial scales. Planning of regulatory measures that limit certain fishing modes or species should take into account the likely differential impacts on different fishing communities and genders.
Today artisanal fishers working in Natura 2000 coastal protected sites face two major types of change: in marine resources, and the governance of their professions. Such transformations affect fishers’ livelihoods, identities and traditions, yet little is known about how these professionals elaborate on these changes – i.e., as continuities or discontinuities - in the narratives they produce as a group. Interviews and focus-groups with artisanal fishers and shellfish harvesters (n = 36) from the Portuguese Southwest coast were subjected to a two-step analysis. First, a textual analysis with Iramuteq helped select the themes directly related to marine resources and governance. Second, three main narratives - on algae, barnacles and fish - were reconstructed. These were then explored regarding: (1) narrative formats (stability, regressive, progressive, mixed); (2) whether/how these formats elaborated changes as continuities or discontinuities; (3) the roles attributed to Self and Others, and whether and how these legitimized the laws, opening avenues for change; and (4) whether narratives were unified or fragmented. This study illustrates how transformations are presented through various combinations of narrative formats, sometimes mobilized to resist and other times to legitimate legal institutional change. It shows how institutional change can be integrated into local narratives as a positive contribution through a process that implies re-constructing the collective identity and local traditions. Through a narrative approach, this paper offers an integrated examination of fishers’ concerns towards their professions and the laws regulating them, and provides useful insight into how and when marine governance is more/less likely to be legitimized.
The most basic level of artisanal fisheries is represented by hand-collecting, which is highly selective and widely recognized as having minimal impact on the environment. Nevertheless, there are some concerns that hand-collecting fisheries have the potential to negatively affect marine environments. We assessed the potential impacts of hookah diving for the pen shell Atrina maura, a hand-collecting fishery, in the Gulf of California, México. In situ observations revealed high sediment resuspension and Atrina shell remains widespread on the rhodolith bed where they are collected (‘fishery’ site), and on a nearby shallow sedimentary habitat where fishermen dump empty shells and tissue remains (‘polluted’ site). Structural complexity (i.e. size, shape and degree of branching) of rhodoliths at the fishery site were lower than previous reports in the area, while high mud and organic matter content was characteristic of the polluted site. Comparisons of faunal samples at the polluted site and control site showed that while faunal density and taxa abundance was greater at the polluted site, taxa evenness and Shannon's diversity indices were greater at the control site. Faunal abundance was highest for detritivorous gastropods (e.g. Cerithiidae, Caecidae) and bivalves tolerant to muddy substrata with potential low oxygen conditions (e.g. Thyasiridae), as well as deposit-feeding polychaetes (e.g. Flabelligeridae, Cirratulidae) at the polluted site. This study suggests impacts of artisanal hand-collecting fisheries on the benthos can be more severe than previously assumed and highlights the need to devise and implement adequate fishing education and management programs to protect benthic resources and the livelihood of local fishermen.
Socio-economic development of small-island fishing communities is greatly dependent on local coastal and marine resources. However, illegal fishing and aggressive practices in insular ecosystems lead to over-exploitation and environmental deterioration. Moreover, a lack of scientific data increases uncertainty and prevents the adequate monitoring of marine resources. This paper focuses on the integration of local fishing communities into decision-making processes with the aim of promoting artisanal fishing on the Island of Tenerife (the Canary Islands), as a way to preserve the marine ecosystem and socio-economic development of traditional cofradias (fishers' organisations). A qualitative methodological framework, based on participatory problem-solution trees and focus groups, was used to identify the main factors impeding the sustainable development of the artisanal fishing sector on the island and to elaborate collective proposals with policy implications. The fishing community involved identified four main issues that are maintaining an unsustainable island fishery: 1) Over-exploitation; 2) Poor self-management of cofradias 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 them and the need to adapt regulations to the local situation.
Although, the involvement of artisanal fishing communities in conservation and management is now commonplace, their participation rarely goes beyond providing local and traditional knowledge to visiting scientists and managers. Communities are often excluded from ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and decision-making, even though these measures can have tremendous impacts on their livelihoods. For the past 17 years, we have designed, tested, and implemented a community-based monitoring model in three key marine ecosystems in Mexico: the kelp forests of Pacific Baja California, the rocky reefs of the Gulf of California, and the coral reefs of the Mesoamerican Reef System. This model is intended to engage local fishers in data collection by fulfilling two principal objectives: (1) to achieve science-based conservation and management decisions and (2) to improve livelihoods through access to knowledge and temporary employment. To achieve these goals, over 400 artisanal fishers and community members have participated in a nationwide marine reserve program. Of these, 222 fishers, including 30 women, have been trained to conduct an underwater visual census using SCUBA gear, and, to date, over 12,000 transects have been completed. Independent scientists periodically evaluate the training process and standards, and the data contribute to international monitoring efforts. This successful model is now being adopted by both civil society and government for use in different parts of Mexico and neighbouring countries. Empowering community members to collect scientific data creates responsibility, pride, and a deeper understanding of the ecosystem in which they live and work, providing both social and ecological benefits to the community and marine ecosystem.