A social-ecological system approach has been applied to measure the complexity of sustainable tourism development on small islands. In general, tourism development and ecosystem management have been shown to be relatively unbalanced. Tourism development attempts have not yet been accompanied by environmental management efforts. In this paper, the social-ecological status is measured to improve the sustainable development mechanism with appropriate indicators. Using the Gili Matra Islands as a case study, the social-ecological status of tourism in the region was examined using the social-ecological status index (SESI), a coupling index of the coastal waters quality index (CWQI), the coordination degree model (CCDM) and the index of information entropy weight (IEW) as tools for measuring and evaluating the social-ecological status and sustainable development of small island tourism.
Social-Ecological Systems and Human Wellbeing
Ecosystem-based management approaches are increasingly used to address the critical linkages between human and biophysical systems. Yet, many of the social-ecological systems (SES) frameworks typically used in coastal and marine management neither represent the social and ecological aspects of the system in equal breadth or depth, nor do they adequately operationalize the social, or human, dimensions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s West Hawai‘i Integrated Ecosystem Assessment, a program grounded in ecosystem-based management, recognizes the importance of place-based human dimensions in coastal and marine resource management that speak to a fuller range of social and cultural dimensions of ecosystem-based management. Previous work with stakeholders in West Hawai‘i revealed noteworthy SES dynamics and highlighted both the importance and lack of understanding of the links between ecosystem services and human well-being, particularly services that enhance and maintain active cultural connections to a place. While cultural ecosystem services and human well-being are often recognized as important elements of SES, there have been substantial barriers to fully representing them, likely due to perceived difficulties of measuring non-material benefits and values, many of which are socially constructed and subjective. This study examined SES frameworks related to cultural ecosystem services and human well-being to advance the representation and operationalization of these important concepts in coastal and marine management. We describe key insights and questions focused on: (1) points of inclusion for human dimensions in SES models, (2) culturally relevant domains of human well-being and related indicators, (3) the importance of place and its interaction with scale, and finally (4) the tension between a gestalt vs. discrete approach to modeling, assessing, and sustainably managing social-ecological systems.
Aquaculture is a major contributor to global food production, but has attracted considerable controversy. Disagreements over the social and ecological impacts of aquaculture (positive and negative) have hindered further expansion of aquaculture production, particularly in wealthy democratic countries. This article presents findings from a series of workshops bringing international aquaculture scholars together from the natural and social sciences to examine and compare social-ecological challenges facing aquaculture development in five nations: Canada, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. This multinational comparison provides unique insights into common and particular challenges in aquaculture governance – a dimension that is missing in current literature about the industry. A political ecology framework from the environmental social sciences is used to examine how natural and human phenomena interact to shape these challenges and frame the conflicts that often result. The analysis reveals a wide range of social-ecological factors limiting aquaculture expansion in the five countries, including access to suitable environments, interactions with other sectors, and policy and regulatory gaps – not only with respect to aquaculture, but also on related issues such as marine spatial planning and the involvement of indigenous peoples in decision-making. The findings provide preliminary guidance for future policy development and comparative aquaculture research.
Numerous conservation initiatives have been undertaken to protect large marine animals by legal protection and implementing marine protected areas (MPAs). Despite these efforts, many marine animals are still threatened, partly due to lack of compliance with conservation regulations. Meanwhile, research suggests that conservation efforts which also take socio-economic factors such as fishermen's livelihoods into account during planning and implementation are more likely to succeed. This study examined the compliance and socio-economic situation of local fishing communities at three sites in Indonesia (Nusa Penida, Tanjung Luar and Komodo National Park) where shark and manta ray conservation efforts have been implemented. 59 local residents were interviewed. The results showed that 49% of those residents had experienced a deterioration and 37% an improvement in their economic situation since conservation efforts in the form of species protection or MPAs were implemented in their area. The economic situation of the residents was associated with their access to alternative livelihoods, access to information on conservation rules, and relationship with conservation authorities. Particularly, interviewees with easier access to alternative income and a positive relationship with conservation authorities also experienced an increase in their economy. In addition, compliance with conservation efforts was positively related to improved economic situation, access to alternative livelihoods and information on conservation rules. These factors all differed among the three study sites, leading to different compliance levels between sites. The results of this study indicate the importance of considering socio-economic factors and of involving local communities when planning and implementing conservation efforts.
Like many other countries, France and Japan now have their own ocean policy, though at different stage of development and in quite different context. On the European side, buzz words like ‘Blue Growth’, ‘Maritime Spatial Planning’, and others, are on the forefront and could make us feel that ocean policies are primarily focused beyond the coast, in offshore waters and their corresponding human activities, somewhat leaving coastal communities in the back seat. Through case studies, we will try to show that ocean policies should be coast-to-coast, across oceans, regional seas, or local well delineated water body, never forgetting that, beyond ‘Blue growth’, we should be heading towards a ‘Blue society’.
Marine fisheries plays an important role in ensuring food security and providing livelihoods in South Africa, as in many other developing coastal States. Transnational fisheries crime seriously undermines these goals. Drawing on empirical research this contribution highlights the complexity of law enforcement at the interface between low-level poaching and organised crime in the small-scale fisheries sector with reference to a South African case study. Specifically, this article examines the relationship between a fisheries-crime law enforcement approach and the envisaged management approach of the South African Small-Scale Fisheries Policy.
Coastal communities, indigenous peoples, and small-scale fishers rely on the ocean for livelihoods, for subsistence, for wellbeing and for cultural continuity. Thus, understanding the human dimensions of the world’s peopled seas and coasts is fundamental to evidence-based decision-making across marine policy realms, including marine conservation, marine spatial planning, fisheries management, the blue economy and climate adaptation. This perspective article contends that the marine social sciences must inform the pursuit of sustainable oceans. To this end, the article introduces this burgeoning field and briefly reviews the insights that social science can offer to guide ocean and coastal policy and management. The upcoming United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030) provides a tremendous opportunity to build on the current interest, need for and momentum in the marine social sciences. We will be missing the boat if the marine social sciences do not form an integral and substantial part of the mandate and investments of this global ocean science for sustainability initiative.
Coastal communities experience a wide array of environmental and social changes to which they must constantly adapt. Further, a community's perception of change and risk has significant implications for a community's willingness and ability to adapt to both current and future changes. As part of a larger study focusing on the adaptive capacity of communities on the Andaman Coast of Thailand, we used Photovoice to open a dialogue with communities about changes in the marine environment and in coastal communities. This article presents the results of two exploratory Photovoice processes and discusses prospects for using the Photovoice method for exploring social and environmental change. Changes examined included a number of broader environmental and social trends as well as ecological specifics and social particularities in each site. Participants also explored the social implications of environmental changes, the impacts of macro-scale processes on local outcomes, and emotive and active responses of individuals and communities to change. Photovoice is deemed a powerful method for: examining social, environmental, and socio-ecological change, triangulating to confirm the results of other scientific methods, revealing novel ecological interactions, and providing input into community processes focusing on natural resource management, community development, and climate change adaptation.
Livelihoods are a crucial factor in sustainable integrated coastal management and can bring big payoffs for people and coral reef resources but their role in encouraging collective engagement in management is not well understood. Dive tourism is often cited for its capacity to provide livelihoods to reduce reliance on coral reef resources, however, there is little evidence of its ability to achieve this goal. We use key stakeholder interviews with artisanal fishers, their community, local government and politicians and the sustainable livelihoods framework to study Oslob Whale Sharks, the most financially successful and controversial community based dive tourism site in the world. Oslob Whale Sharks has generated income from ticket sales of approximately US$18.4 m over five years. We found that Oslob Whale Sharks has created alternate livelihoods for 177 fishers, and diversified livelihoods throughout the community, reducing fishing effort and changing livelihood strategies away from reliance on coral reef resources. Livelihoods from Oslob Whale Sharks increase food security for fishers and their families and improve the wellbeing of their community. Livelihoods have galvanised fishers and their community to change behaviour and collectively engage in management. Our findings indicate connection between livelihoods and the provision of finance to protect whale sharks and manage five marine reserves, indicating that fishers and local government are protecting the whale sharks and coral ref resources their livelihoods depend on.
Taking changes, uncertainty and diversification of ecosystems and societies as prerequisites, the effective way to implement stable fisheries management involves engaging the stakeholders (e.g., fishers, authorities and researchers) in discussions of issues. Such dialogues allow the participants to select and implement initiatives for measures that suit the location in question. This process also can accommodate revisions to compensate for changes in nature and society as the results and significance of the initiatives are continually appraised via the varied knowledge possessed by the stakeholders. And, to support this kind of deliberation and decision-making, in cooperation with fishers, we have developed and are sharing a fisheries management tool-box. As a result, we are now able to compare various sites using a common framework, which enables us to search out general theories for fisheries management in the future. Moreover, by using the tool-box in recurring discussions among the diverse range of knowledge holders at the site in question, the diverse perspectives of stakeholders (including researchers) change. In turn, that change can be fed back to the tool-box, with the hope that it will contribute to “co-evolution” of knowledge related to fisheries management.