This study was conducted in the fishing community of the Cabedelo municipality (NE Brazil, Paraíba) and characterized the socioeconomic profile of the fishers, their local ecological knowledge and their main usage of fish species. Overall, 80 fishers were interviewed. Snowball, direct observation, guided tours, free interviews and structured and semi-structured questionnaires were used for data collection, which occurred from December 2010 to June 2011 in fortnightly visits to the city of Cabedelo. Most fishers ranged from 36 to 45 years, with low education and low income levels, and approximately 87% fished in the municipality. At least 33 fish species were recorded as important for family consumption and trade. The most commonly caught fish families were Carangidae, Mugilidae, Lutjanidae and Scombridae. The fishes most used for commerce were Lutjanidae, Scombridae, and Serranidae. Fishers demonstrated a high knowledge about the temporal distribution of fishes and categorized them as “fishes of summer”, “fishes of winter” and “fishes around all year”; fishes' vertical distributions were categorized as either “bottom fish” or “water flower”. Fishers also classified eating habits, some types of behavior and reproduction of most exploited species. Fishermen's understanding of the fish stocks distribution and fish ecology is potentially imperative for scientific knowledge and future shared management plans.
By-catch is considered a significant problem in large-scale fisheries yet in small-scale fisheries (SSF), employing >99% of the world's fishers, there is limited quantitative understanding of by-catch, and catches in general. We provide an assessment of by-catch from fishing gears (fyke, trawl, set trammel, and drift trammel nets) commonly used in small-scale fisheries across the globe, using a representative Sri Lankan case study and placing this in the context of local resource use patterns. We reveal evidence of how SSF generate significant finfish by-catch with potentially significant ecological impacts. Fishers targeting shrimp (fyke, trawl, and drift trammel nets) caught more non-target species than global averages (44, 44, and 67% by weight, respectively). Fishers targeting finfish (set trammel nets) caught fewer non-target species. We found that by-catch depends more on target species and gear type, supporting suggestions that SSF are not “inherently more sustainable” than their large-scale counterparts and a collective effort is required for an improved understanding of the impacts of SSF. This study highlights an additional issue of valuable food fish discards, raising questions about fisheries exploitation in the context of food security in areas where poverty and food insecurity are prevalent.
The Pacific coast of Colombia has some of the most extensive mangrove forests in South America. As an isolated region and one of the country's poorest, coastal communities rely on fishing as a main source of animal protein and income. In an attempt to reverse declining trends of fisheries resources, in 2008, an Exclusive Zone of Artisanal Fishing closed to industrial fishing, was established by stakeholders in the Northern Chocó region. Here we present a case study to investigate the effects of this area-based management on fisheries productivity and catch composition. Fishery landings data from 2010 to 2013 are compared to those of a neighbouring region with no fisheries management. Catch per unit effort, mean weight landed, and number of landed individuals were calculated for mangrove and non-mangrove associated species by boat type and fishing gear. A set of mixed effects models were used to unpack the effects of multiple factors and their interactions on response variables. Results show that across fishing gears and time, mean catch per unit effort increased by 50% in the Exclusive Zone of Artisanal Fishing within 3 years. Fisheries here focused on offshore resources with 61% more fishing trips associated with motorised boats than in the unmanaged region, where fishing was predominantly in mangroves and close to the coast. This suggests that fisheries management may have played a role in reducing pressure on mangrove resources. However, area-based management may have also driven the displacement of fishing effort by excluding industrial trawlers, which then concentrated their activity in neighbouring areas.
In most small-scale fisheries, especially in developing countries, the collection of reliable fishing statistics is not regular, hampering traditional stock assessments. In those data-poor fisheries, a precise knowledge of resources co-occurrence at the ecosystem level, as well as the spatial mapping of fishing activities seem key to support management in a complex fishers-environment context. In the largest South Atlantic coralline reef, the Abrolhos Bank, fisheries are extremely diverse in terms of exploitation capacity, fishing gears, target stocks and operating areas, but any regional fisheries management is currently in place. The aim of this study was to assess, organize, and analyze fisheries of three snappers (Lutjanus jocu, L. synagris and Ocyurus chrysurus), and three groupers (Cephalopholis fulva, Epinephelus morio and Mycteroperca bonaci) along the Abrolhos Bank, with an ultimate goal of proposing useful management units. Surveys were conducted in the main fishing ports, including fishers' interviews and fish size measures in landings. Data analysis allowed a precise fishing characterization, a grouping of stocks co-occurrence, and the mapping of fishing spots and grounds. Three stocks and seven fishing areas clusters were obtained and defined statistically, suggesting useful management units. Specific fishers' groups per fleet were identified as the main stakeholders to be consulted in fisheries plans. Spatial units based on the occurrence of snappers and groupers stocks were defined, having the “Parcel das Paredes” the greatest number of fishing spots and the lower fish sizes. Overall, findings contain unprecedented fine scale resolution units that clarifies and simplifies the connections among species, fleets, fishing areas and fishers. They should also strength the call for action to implement fisheries management in a broader ecosystem-scale context.
Coastal fishing communities are closely linked to the biological and ecological characteristics of exploited resources and the physical conditions associated with climate and ocean dynamics. Thus, the human populations that depend on fisheries are inherently exposed to climate variability and uncertainty. This study applied an ethno-oceanographic framework to investigate the perceptions of fishers on climate and ocean change to better understand the impacts of climate change on the coastal fishing communities of the South Brazil Bight. Seven coastal fishing communities that cover the regional diversity of the area were selected. Fishers were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The results suggest that fishers have detected climate-related changes in their environment such as reduced rainfall, increased drought events, calmer sea conditions, increases in air and ocean temperatures, changes in wind patterns and shoreline erosion. The perceptions of the fishers were compared to the available scientific data, and correlations were found with rainfall, wind speed and air and ocean temperatures. New hypotheses were raised based on the perceptions of fishers about sea level, coastal currents and sea conditions such as the hypothesis that the sea has become calmer. These perceived changes have positive and negative effects on the yields and livelihoods of fishers. The present work is the first evaluation of the perceptions of fishers on climate and ocean change and brings new understandings of climate-fishery-human interactions as well as provides inputs for future adaptation plans.
In remote and data-limited situations such as encountered in Arctic regions, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is an important and valuable information source. TEK from local fishers (fishers knowledge, FK) is highly relevant to fisheries management. The integration of FK in fisheries assessments remains complicated by the lack of tools to combine scientific and FK observations. This study implements a productivity-susceptibility analysis (PSA) for assessing the risk from fishing to fish stocks and incorporate FK in the assessment process. The PSA method consists of scoring productivity attributes of fish populations and susceptibility attributes affecting fisheries exposure and intensity. The method can be adapted to incorporate FK on two levels: (1) in the validation of biological data (indirect inclusion); and (2) in the definition and scoring of independent FK attributes (direct inclusion). Risk scores measured along the productivity-susceptibility gradient serve to identify areas and populations most vulnerable to fishing activities and formulate science advice for prioritisation and management. We apply the method to small-scale fisheries for Arctic char Salvelinus alpinus in Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island, Nunavut. These fisheries are key to food security and economic growth in Canada's Arctic territories, yet management remains complicated by data paucity; by the widespread distribution and biological complexity of Arctic char stocks; and by growing uncertainties related to climate change impacts on Arctic fish and ecosystems. This paper demonstrates the usefulness of the method for combining science and FK information to improve management advice for Arctic char stocks, and applicability to other small-scale, data-limited fisheries.
We describe the structure and historic landings of the Punta Abreojos fishing cooperative (Baja California Sur, Mexico) for the period between 2001 and 2015 to understand the dynamics of an economically and ecologically successful coastal fishing community according to catches and the direct income of fishers. A total of 21 commercial species were classified into three major groups: cultural resources, target resources and complementary resources. The most important resource in terms of total biomass was Paralabrax nebulifer(58.4%), followed by Panulirus interruptus and P. inflatus (13.6%). Seriola lalandi, Atractoscion nobilis, Caulolatilus princeps, Paralichtys californicus and P. woolmani made up minor proportions of the total biomass contributing 7.0%, 5.7%, 3.4% and 3.2% respectively. Haliotis fulgens and H. corrugata represented just 1.1% of the total biomass caught. Lobsters were the most profitable source of direct income for fisherman (77.5%), followed by the green and pink abalone (10.4%), barred sand bass (5.6%), white seabass (2.7%), California and speckled flounder (1.2%), yellowtail (1%) and whitefish (0.4%). The rest of the catch was composed of six species of finfish that represented 4.1% of the total catch biomass and 0.4% of the revenues from fishing.
This work provides a first clear base-line description of the fisheries in Punta Abreojos which implements a management program that aims to ensure the wellbeing of the fishers and the fishery. The cooperative has been successful in maintaining catch at levels considered optimal to sustain revenues and continued annual landings. A management and cooperative structure that allows for adaptive change whilst maintaining revenues of the fishers is testament to the stewardship of the community and the participatory management upon which the community is built. For this reason, Punta Abreojos should be considered an example of a successful small-scale fishing cooperative that other, less successful fishing groups, can learn from.
Despite marine fish being an important food resource for coastal communities, the amount of fish caught by small-scale fisheries is unsustainable at many locations. Fish consumers have a critical role in species conservation because they can choose responsibly and avoid consuming overexploited or endangered species. In this study, local human consumption patterns and local knowledge about groupers and sharks caught by small-scale local fisheries were investigated in a Brazilian coral reef complex. Fish consumers were interviewed in a fish market setting regarding their monthly fish consumption, knowledge of endangered species, and strategies they do to consume fish responsibly. Of the 126 local fish consumers, 94% and 76% reported to buying sharks and groupers, respectively, on a monthly basis. The main strategies they used to consume fish responsibly were 1) getting fishmonger's advice and 2) buying fish on reliable fish markets. Our findings are important to understanding fish consumption preferences, which can contribute to the implementation of educational initiatives aiming to raise consumers’ awareness regarding responsible consumption.
The implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in multispecies fleets has the potential to increase fleet diversification strategies, which can reduce pressure on overexploited stocks. However, diversification may reduce the economic performance of individual vessels and lead to unforeseen outcomes. We studied the economic performance of different fleet segments and their fishing métiers in Wales (United Kingdom) to understand how the number of the métiers employed affects fishing income, operating costs, and profit. For the small-scale segment, more specialised fishers are more profitable and the diversity of métiers is limiting both the maximum expected income and profit but also the operating costs. This last result may explain the propensity of fishers to increase the number of métiers for at least part of the studied fleet. Therefore, while for some vessels, increasing the diversity of fishing métiers may be perceived to limit economic risk associated with the interannual variability of catches and prices and (or) to reduce their operating costs, it can ultimately result in less profitable activity than more specialised vessels.
The ‘Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries’ developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has been central for the governance of fisheries. Most responsible fisheries initiatives are market-driven and motivate transitions towards greener economies. These added-value fish economies have increasingly connected fishing grounds to external markets that demand high quality sustainable products. This article problematizes the framework of responsible fishing and examines its intersections with place-base institutional processes in the Pacific coast of Colombia. In doing this, it explores how the concept of ‘responsible fishing’ has been framed, arguing that it has been used to operationalize the expansion of neoliberal processes in the oceans. It draws on small-scale fisheries performed by Afro-descendant people in the Gulf of Tribugá, where responsible fishing narratives have been linked to the creation of marine protected areas and responsible fish supply chains. Two dominant framings of responsible fishing were identified; a ‘sustainability’ framing that denotes the sustainable use of fishing resources, and a ‘technical’ framing that refers to the use of environmentally safe practices. However, none of these framings accounts for social responsibility. Instead they have enforced the division of fishing practices between ‘responsible’/‘irresponsible’, and produced static, ahistorical and oversimplified understandings of fishing dynamics. All this has triggered a local need for external control over fisheries governance, disempowering place-based control mechanisms. This article concludes by questioning whether responsible fishing can successfully ensure a sustainable use of fishing resources, or if moving beyond ‘responsibility’ is needed to strengthen local institutional processes and autonomy among coastal peoples.