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.
Mapping the spatial allocation of fishing effort while including key stakeholders in the decision making process is essential for effective fisheries management but is difficult to implement in complex small-scale fisheries that are diffuse, informal and multifaceted. Here we present a standardized but flexible approach that combines participatory mapping approaches (fishers’ spatial preference for fishing grounds, or fishing suitability) with socioeconomic approaches (spatial extrapolation of social surrogates, or fishing capacity) to generate a comprehensive map of predicted fishing effort. Using a real world case study, in Moorea, French Polynesia, we showed that high predicted fishing effort is not simply located in front of, or close to, main fishing villages with high dependence on marine resources; it also occurs where resource dependency is moderate and generally in near-shore areas and reef passages. The integrated approach we developed can contribute to addressing the recurrent lack of fishing effort spatial data through key stakeholders' (i.e., resource users) participation. It can be tailored to a wide range of social, ecological and data availability contexts, and should help improve place-based management of natural resources.
Balancing sustainability and conservation concerns with the socioeconomic needs of small-scale fishers is a dilemma that is commonly faced by fisheries managers. In this paper, we present a case study on managing the developing small-scale purse seine (or ring net) fishery introduced to Kenya by migrant fishers. The fishery, which primarily targets coastal pelagics in offshore waters, was deduced to have the potential of reducing fishing effort on nearshore demersal reef fish stocks while enhancing fisheries production and fisher livelihoods. The expanding fishery elicited much controversy resulting in resource use conflicts related to gear competition and concerns about the environmental impacts of the gear. We detail the consultative planning process that was undertaken to develop a gear-based management plan spanning over 10 years from 2004 to 2016. We briefly document the catch dynamics and evolution of the fishery, and further detail the challenges and key outcomes of the decision-making process. Regulatory measures agreed by stakeholders include restrictions on gear dimensions as well as spatial restrictions defining the distance and depth of operation. Effective implementation and enforcement of the measures will require collective action from all stakeholders. Future considerations should focus on harmonization of proposed measures in transboundary areas.
For marine fishes that form spawning aggregations, vulnerability to aggregation fishing is influenced by interactions between the spatio-temporal patterns of spawning and aspects of the fishery that determine fishing effort, catch, and catch rate in relation to spawning. We investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of spawning and fishing for the barred sand bass, Paralabrax nebulifer, in Punta Abreojos, Mexico from 2010 to 2012 as a means to assess its vulnerability to aggregation fishing by the local commercial fishery. Monthly, spatial patterns in gonadal development in collected females indicated that adults formed spawning aggregations at two sites in Punta Abreojos during July and August. Monthly patterns in the spatial distribution of fishing matched the spawning behavior of P. nebulifer, with effort and catch concentrated at spawning aggregation sites during those months. However, fishing effort, catch, and catch-per-unit effort did not increase during the spawning season, and fishing activities associated with the spawning season comprised only a small percentage of the total annual effort (22%) and catch (17%). Therefore, while the population of P. nebulifer at Punta Abreojos should be vulnerable to aggregation fishing due to the spatio-temporal dynamics of its spawning aggregations, vulnerability is greatly reduced, because fishing activities are not disproportionately focused on spawning aggregations and fishing methods are not optimized to maximize harvest from the aggregations. Differences between our results and previous studies on aggregation fisheries for P. nebulifer in California, USA, reinforce the importance of assessing factors influencing vulnerability to aggregation fishing at regional scales for prioritizing management efforts.
This article addresses the connections between value chain actors in the tropical-marine small-scale fisheries of Zanzibar, Tanzania, to contribute to a better understanding of the fisher-trader link and how connections in general might feed into livelihood security. A sample of 168 fishers and 130 traders was taken across 8 sites through questionnaires and observations. The small-scale fishery system is mapped using a value chain framework both traditionally and from a less economic point of view where the assistance-exchange networks between fishery actors add another layer of complexity. Auxiliary actors previously disregarded emerge from the latter method thus shedding light on the poorly understood distribution of benefits from seafood trade. Female actors participate quite differently, relative to males in the market system, detached from high-value links such as the tourist industry, and access to predetermined or secured sales deals. Data shows that the fisher-trader link is not as one-sided as previously presented. In fact it has a more symbiotic exchange deeply nested in a broader trading and social system. Expanding the analysis from this link by taking a further step downstream highlights traders’ own sales arrangements and the social pressures they are under in realizing them. A complex picture, inclusive of diversified perspectives, on interactions in the market place is presented, as well as a reflection on the remaining critical question: how to integrate this type of data into decisions about future fisheries governance.