This article analyses the interplay between inter-State obligations to increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.a, with a view to contributing to enhanced implementation of the international law of the sea (SDG 14.c), and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources (SDG 14.b). It proposes to do so by relying not only on the international law of the sea, but also on international biodiversity law (particularly the Convention on Biological Diversity) and international human rights law (particularly the human right to science). The article seeks to provide a reflection on the opportunities arising from a mutually supportive interpretation of different international law instruments with regard to the means of implementation for SDG 14 in synergy with other SDGs (particularly SDG 17 on ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ and its targets related to technology transfer, capacity-building and partnerships).
This article presents the first bottom-up analysis of the proportion of global marine fisheries subsidies to small-scale fisheries (SSF). Using existing data, the reported national subsidy amounts are split into the fraction that goes to small- and large-scale fishing sectors. Results reveal a major imbalance in subsidy distribution, with SSF receiving only about 16% of the total global fisheries subsidy amount of $35 billion in 2009. To bring this into perspective, a person engaged in large-scale fishing received around 4 times the amount of subsidies received by their SSF counterparts. Furthermore, almost 90% of capacity-enhancing subsidies, which are known to exacerbate overfishing go to large-scale fisheries, thus increasing the unfair competitive advantage that large-scale fisheries already have. The developmental, economic and social consequences of this inequity are huge and impair the economic viability of the already vulnerable small-scale fishing sector. Conclusions indicate that taxpayers' money should be used to support sustainable fishing practices and in turn ocean conservation, and not to foster the degradation of marine ecosystems, often a result of capacity-enhancing subsidies. Reducing capacity-enhancing subsidies will have minimal negative effects on SSF communities since they receive very little of these subsidies to begin with. Instead, it will help correct the existing inequality, enhance SSF economic viability, and promote global fisheries sustainability.
The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF-Guidelines) were agreed with extensive input from small-scale fishers themselves, and hold great promise for enhancing both small-scale fishers’ human rights and fisheries sustainability in a meaningful and context relevant manner. However, this promise will not be fulfilled without continued input from fishing communities as the SSF-Guidelines are implemented. This paper proposes that international conservation NGOs, with their extensive geographical and political networks, can act as a conduit for communication between small-scale fishing communities and other parties and thus catalyse implementation of the Guidelines. In order to do so, they will first need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to people-as-well-as-parks and the human rights based approach espoused in the SSF-Guidelines. This paper reviews current engagement of international conservation NGOs with human rights in fisheries; looks at their potential motivations for doing more; and identifies challenges in the way. It concludes with a proposal for how international conservation NGOs could play a critical part in catalysing the implementation of the SSF-Guidelines.
There is a growing global concern for the conservation of manta and devil rays (Mobulidae). Populations of mobulids are falling worldwide and fisheries are one of the main activities contributing to this decline. Mobulid landings have been reported in Peru for decades. However, detailed information regarding the description of mobulid captures is not available. This study provides an assessment of mobulid captures and fish-market landings by small-scale gillnet fisheries from three landing sites in northern Peru. Onboard and shore-based observations were used to monitor captures and landings respectively between January 2015 and February 2016. All mobulid species known to occur in Peru were recorded from landings, with immature Mobula japanica as the most frequent catch. No manta rays (Manta birostris) were reported as caught although one specimen was observed as landed. The mean nominal CPUE was 1.6 ± 2.8 mobulids[km.day]−1 while the average capture per set (fishing operation) was 2.0 ± 8.09 mobulids[set]−1. Smooth hammerhead shark (S. zygaena) and yellowfin tuna (T. albacares) were target species highly associated with mobulid captures. The majority of mobulid captures occurred in nearshore waters and over the continental shelf off Zorritos and San Jose. Mobulid capture showed a temporal trend, increasing between September 2015 and February 2016, with a peak in October 2015 (10.17 ± 0.23 mobulids[km.day]−1), reflected by landings that showed an additional peak in May. A generalized linear zero-inflated negative binomial two-part model (GLM ZINB) indicated that longitude and latitude explained both the zero-inflated binomial model, as well as the count negative binomial model, which also included season as a explanatory variable for differences in mobulid captures. The mean CPUE (mobulids[km.day]−1) and mean Variance values obtained from the fitted final model were 1.73 and 25.51, respectively. Results also suggest that high mobulid captures could reflect an opportunistic behaviour of fishermen who catch mobulids when target species are not as abundant. Considering the global conservation status of mobulids, (Manta and Mobula), and acknowledging that M. birostris was the only species not recorded captured in the study but is the only species legally protected in Peru, further studies are necessary to support the possible inclusion of Mobula species in national management plans.
In several Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), rapid population growth and inadequate management of coastal fish habitats and stocks is causing a gap to emerge between the amount of fish recommended for good nutrition and sustainable harvests from coastal fisheries. The effects of ocean warming and acidification on coral reefs, and the effects of climate change on mangrove and seagrass habitats, are expected to widen this gap. To optimise the contributions of small-scale fisheries to food security in PICTs, adaptations are needed to minimise and fill the gap. Key measures to minimise the gap include community-based approaches to: manage catchment vegetation to reduce sedimentation; maintain the structural complexity of fish habitats; allow landward migration of mangroves as sea level rises; sustain recruitment and production of demersal fish by managing ‘source’ populations; and diversify fishing methods to increase catches of species favoured by climate change. The main adaptions to help fill the gap in fish supply include: transferring some fishing effort from coral reefs to tuna and other large pelagic fish by scaling-up the use of nearshore fish aggregating devices; developing fisheries for small pelagic species; and extending the shelf life of catches by improving post-harvest methods. Modelling the effects of climate change on the distribution of yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, wahoo and mahi mahi, indicates that these species are likely to remain abundant enough to implement these adaptations in most PICTs until 2050. We conclude by outlining the policies needed to support the recommended adaptations.
This work reports on how benefits are distributed among the owners of fishing grounds in the spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery of Punta Allen, Mexico. This MSC certified (2012) small-scale fishery, has been co-managed as a Territorial Use Rights Fishery (TURF) since 1969. Members of the local fishing cooperative, have exclusive access to individual fishing grounds. The fishery is based on the use of artificial shelters. These bottom devices provide refuges for lobsters, reduce predation mortality, and facilitate harvesting by free diving and the use of hand nets. Data from the fishing cooperative logbooks were used to calculate fishing incomes indicators per fisher (revenues, quasi-profits of the variable costs, profits, and resource rent) achieved in seven lobster fishing seasons (2007–2014). Distributions statistics (shape parameters and log transformations), and inequality metrics (Lorenz curve and Gini index G) were applied to the income indicators. The analysis was complemented with a fishers’ perceptions survey about the effectiveness of joint Government and cooperative regulations. The Gindex of the fishing revenues distributions showed low values (0.387 ± 0.017) and a stable trend in the seven lobster seasons analyzed. The calculated G values of the fishing income indicators increased from 0.387 to 0.490. There were no statistically significant differences in the resource rent earned by the age groups of campo owners. This finding could indicate intergenerational equity among current resource users. The results showed that in the lobster fishery of Punta Allen, the fishing incomes are spread more equally than most fisheries where distributional performance has been assessed.
Small-scale fisheries are responsible for high numbers of animals caught as bycatch, such as turtles, cetaceans, and seals. Bycatch and its associated mortality is a major conservation challenge for these species and is considered undesirable by fishermen. To gain insights on the impact of bycatch on small-scale fishermen and put it in context with other financial and environmental challenges they face, we conducted questionnaire-based interviews on fishermen working on Crete, Greece. We investigated fishermen's perceptions of sea turtle and other protected species interactions, and the impacts of such interactions on their profession and livelihoods. Our results indicate a connection between declining fish stocks, related increased fishing effort, and reported increased frequency of interactions between fishermen and sea turtles. Respondents believed that their livelihoods were endangered by industrial fishing and environmental problems, but thought that combined interactions with turtles and other marine megafauna species were a larger problem. Responses suggested that extending compensation to fishermen may be a good conservation intervention. Small-scale fishermen hold a wealth of knowledge about the marine environment and its resources. This may be of help to researchers and policy makers as it could be used to achieve a better managed, sustainable fishery. Including small-scale fishermen in the process of developing regulations will both enhance those regulations and increase compliance with them.
After many years of Common Fisheries Policies in the European Union, 88% of stocks are still being fished beyond their Maximum Sustainable Yield. While several Member States and the European Commission are moving toward Individual Transferable Quotas as a solution, France has declared its opposition to such marketization of fishing access rights and a national law has classified fisheries resources as a collective heritage. This paper discusses the evolution of the French system, principally its distribution of access rights by the Producer Organizations instead of the market. However, the Producer Organizations, which are more linked to the industrial fleet organizations, have not always modified their sharing formulae to include small-scale fisheries, resulting in a demand for more transparency and equity.
Bycatch of marine fauna by small-scale (artisanal) fisheries is an important anthropogenic mortality source to several species of cetaceans, including humpback whales and odontocetes, in Ecuador's marine waters. Long-term monitoring actions and varied conservation efforts have been conducted by non-governmental organizations along the Ecuadorian coast, pointing toward the need for a concerted mitigation plan and actions to hamper cetaceans’ bycatch. Nevertheless, little has currently been done by the government and regional authorities to address marine mammal interactions with fisheries in eastern Pacific Ocean artisanal fisheries. This study provides a review of Ecuador's current status concerning cetacean bycatch, and explores the strengths and weaknesses of past and current programs aiming to tackle the challenges of bycatch mitigation. To bolster our appraisal of the policies, a synthesis of fishers’ perceptions of the bycatch problem is presented in concert with recommendations for fostering fishing community-based conservation practices integrated with policies to mitigate cetacean bycatch. Our appraisal, based upon the existing literature, indicates a situation of increasing urgency. Taking into consideration the fishers’ perceptions and attitudes, fisheries governance in Ecuador should draw inspiration from a truly bottom-up, participatory framework based on stakeholder engagement processes; if it is based on a top-down, regulatory approach, it is less likely to succeed. To carry out this process, a community-based conservation programs to provide conditions for empowering fishing communities is recommend. This would serve as an initial governance framework for fishery policy for conserving marine mammals while maximizing the economic benefits from sustainable small-scale fisheries in Ecuador.
Managing for sustainable development and resource extraction requires an understanding of the feedbacks between ecosystems and humans. These feedbacks are part of complex social-ecological systems (SES), in which resources, actors, and governance systems interact to produce outcomes across these component parts. Qualitative modeling approaches offer ways to assess complex SES dynamics. Loop analysis in particular is useful for examining and identifying potential outcomes from external perturbations and management interventions in data poor systems when very little is known about functional relationships and parameter values. Using a case study of multispecies, multifleet coastal small-scale fisheries, we demonstrate the application of loop analysis to provide predictions regarding SES responses to perturbations and management actions. Specifically, we examine the potential ecological and socioeconomic consequences to coastal fisheries of different governance interventions (e.g., territorial user rights, fisheries closures, market-based incentives, ecotourism subsidies) and environmental changes. Our results indicate that complex feedbacks among biophysical and socioeconomic components can result in counterintuitive and unexpected outcomes. For example, creating new jobs through ecotourism or subsidies might have mixed effects on members of fishing cooperatives vs. nonmembers, highlighting equity issues. Market-based interventions, such as ecolabels, are expected to have overall positive economic effects, assuming a direct effect of ecolabels on market-prices, and a lack of negative biological impacts under most model structures. Our results highlight that integrating ecological and social variables in a unique unit of management can reveal important potential trade-offs between desirable ecological and social outcomes, highlight which user groups might be more vulnerable to external shocks, and identify which interventions should be further tested to identify potential win-win outcomes across the triple-bottom line of the sustainable development paradigm.