The limited availability of fisheries socio-economic data often reflects insufficient technical capacity for planning and implementing data collection programs, including survey design, data processing, and analysis. To address this, a handbook was developed to provide a practical kit of tested and standardized tools for conducting sample surveys for collection of the most pertinent data for a socio-economic assessment of fisheries and harmonizing data collection. Conceptually, the sampling scheme proposed was straightforward and, if correctly applied, it guarantees sound and robust statistical fisheries data. The main focus of this handbook was placed on livelihoods; employment; general profitability of the activity and demographic patterns. In the socio-economic assessment of fisheries remuneration is one of the key indicators and is also the most challenging to estimate: a socio-economic survey that provides estimates of remuneration that are close to the reality is a successful survey.
Social-Ecological Systems and Human Wellbeing
The integrity of ocean ecosystems are currently under threat from a suite of anthropogenic drivers including climate change, over-fishing, land-based pollution, and resource exploitation. Recent research has shown that this degradation is likely to lead to negative, long-term livelihood, biodiversity, and economic impacts. In view of the level of dependence of those in the developing countries on well-functioning ecosystems, already marginalised coastal populations are likely to suffer most of the costs of the degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems. One policy intervention that has been touted to deliver on conservation and longer-term development goals is the continued establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). While preliminary research has shown mixed results on the effects of MPAs, some studies show, in certain contexts, positive benefits of MPAs flowing to impoverished local populations.
Here, we used a three-step process to see if we could detect an association between creation of MPAs and particular human health outcomes. We used childhood stunting as the dependent measure of human health. We built a database of 47 992 children living less than 25 km from a marine coast in 25 developing countries. We combined socioeconomic and health data from Demographic and Health Surveys with available climate and environmental data to examine this relationship. For analysis, we first used an information-theoretic approach to examine the potential association between distance to MPA and childhood stunting, while controlling for a suite of covariates and potential confounding socioeconomic variables. Second, we used a mixed-effect logit model to test proximity to MPAs and severe stunting in children. Third, we used propensity score matching to test the treatment effect of an MPA further while controlling for the same environmental and socioeconomic factors as in the logit models.
We find that the distance to MPA does show up in the top models using an information-theoretic approach. With the logit models, we find that the further from an MPA a child lives, the greater the chance a child has of being severely stunted (p<0·001). Third, we find that a significant negative effect of the treatment on severe stunting (p<0·001)—ie, proximity to an MPA reduces the incidence of severe stunting. The effect is larger for the sample living within 25 km of large MPAs.
While much work needs to be done to uncover a potential causal link between well-functioning marine ecosystems and childhood health, our results indicate that such an examination might prove fruitful, and ultimately that marine conservation could be a key mechanism to improve the health of the millions of marginalised coastal peoples worldwide.
The Oceans and Fisheries Initiative at the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.
Increasing recognition of the human dimensions of natural resource management issues, and of social and ecological sustainability and resilience as being inter-related, highlights the importance of applying social science to natural resource management decision-making. Moreover, a number of laws and regulations require natural resource management agencies to consider the “best available science” (BAS) when making decisions, including social science. Yet rarely do these laws and regulations define or identify standards for BAS, and those who have tried to fill the gap have done so from the standpoint of best available natural science. This paper proposes evaluative criteria for best available social science (BASS), explaining why a broader set of criteria than those used for natural science is needed. Although the natural and social sciences share many of the same evaluative criteria for BAS, they also exhibit some differences, especially where qualitative social science is concerned. Thus we argue that the evaluative criteria for BAS should expand to include those associated with diverse social science disciplines, particularly the qualitative social sciences. We provide one example from the USA of how a federal agency − the U.S. Forest Service − has attempted to incorporate BASS in responding to its BAS mandate associated with the national forest planning process, drawing on different types of scientific information and in light of these criteria. Greater attention to including BASS in natural resource management decision-making can contribute to better, more equitable, and more defensible management decisions and policies.
Ensuring sustainability of livelihoods for communities residing in coastal environments of the Global South has gained considerable attention across policy making, practice and research fields. Livelihood enhancement programs commonly strategize around developing people's resilience by diversification of income and subsistence activities, but are criticised for inadequate appreciation of local contexts. This in part results from the application of theoretical approaches in practice which are informed disproportionately by dominant science-based narratives and utilised by actors in higher level political arenas. This leads to the prioritization of objectives that do not necessarily reflect local livelihood conditions. There is an urgent need to address the multiple challenges that limit the possibility for sustainable livelihoods in spatially and temporally dynamic environments. This paper presents an analysis of the policy landscape in which intervention strategies for sustainable coastal livelihoods emerge. It examines how livelihood improvement approaches take shape in the context of conservation, rural development, and regional resource governance. Drawing from analyses of broader regional policies and an extensive literature review, a conceptual framework is presented. It details various influences that can flow up or down multi-scaled governance structures to affect policy and management - from agenda-setting narratives of policy makers to the dynamic and changeable nature of livelihoods. Case studies from the Arafura and Timor Seas region are introduced to illustrate some of these trends. The discussion highlights challenges encountered in the pursuit of sustainability for coastal and marine-based livelihoods, and suggests directions for more effective long term policy, management and strategic interventions.
Conservation success is contingent on assessing social as well as environmental factors so that cost-effective implementation of strategies and actions can be placed in a broad social-ecological context. Until now, the focus has been on how to include spatially-explicit social data in conservation planning, whereas the value of different kinds of social data has received limited attention. In a regional systematic conservation planning case study in Australia, we examined the spatial concurrence of a range of spatially-explicit social values and preferences collected using public participation GIS (PPGIS) methods with biological data. We then integrated the social data with the biological data in a series of spatial prioritization scenarios using Zonation software to determine the effect of the different types of social data on spatial prioritization vis-à-vis biological data alone. We found that the type of social data included in the analysis significantly affected spatial prioritization outcomes. The integration of social values and land-use preferences under different scenarios was highly variable and generated spatial prioritizations that were 1.2% to 51% different from those based on biological data alone. The inclusion of conservation-compatible values and preferences added relatively little new area to conservation priorities while in contrast, including non-compatible economic values and development preferences as costs significantly changed conservation priority areas. The multi-faceted conservation prioritization approach presented herein that combines spatially-explicit social data with biological data can assist conservation planners in identifying the type of social data to collect for more effective and feasible conservation actions.
Ocean acidification poses an increasing threat to marine ecosystems and also interacts with other anthropogenic environmental drivers. A planned response strategy could minimize exposure of socioeconomic systems to potential hazards and may even offer wider advantages. Response strategies can be informed by understanding the hazards, assessing exposure and assessing risks and opportunities. This paper assesses exposure of key socioeconomic systems to the hazards of ocean acidification and analyzes the risks and opportunities of this exposure from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) perspectives. Key socioeconomic systems that are likely to be affected by ocean acidification are identified. A risk analysis matrix is developed to evaluate the risks or opportunities arising from ocean acidification. Analysis of the matrix reveals similarities and differences in potential adaptive responses at global and regional levels. For example, while ocean acidification poses significant threats to SIDS from more frequent toxic wild-caught seafood events and, potentially destruction of coral reef structure and habitat, SIDS may have a relative advantage in aquaculture and an important role to play in global marine ecosystem conservation.
This is the first study to assess the social costs of marine debris washed ashore and litter left behind by beach visitors along different European coasts. Three identical surveys, including a discrete choice experiment, are implemented at six beaches along different European coastlines: the Mediterranean Sea in Greece, the Black Sea in Bulgaria and the North Sea in the Netherlands. Beach visitors are asked for their experiences with beach litter and their willingness to volunteer in beach clean-up programs and their willingness to pay an entrance fee or increase in local tax to clean up marine litter. Significant differences are found between countries. This has important implications for the size and transferability of the estimated social costs of marine litter across Europe.
Over the last 30 years, a range of different livelihoods have been provided and implemented in fishing and coastal communities in the Philippine with mixed success and sustainability by the fisher and household. This paper reports on an analysis of livelihood projects for fishing communities and households implemented in the Philippines and the identification of lessons learned and factors which can lead to an improved success and sustainability rate for livelihood projects and programs. The analysis identified primary factors that are critical to improving the success and sustainability rate of livelihood interventions.
Resource managers and policy makers have long recognized the importance of considering fisheries in the context of ecosystems; yet, movement towards widespread Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management (EBFM) has been slow. A conceptual reframing of fisheries management is occurring globally, which envisions fisheries as systems with interacting biophysical and human subsystems. This broader view, along with a process for decision making, can facilitate implementation of EBFM. A pathway to achieve these broadened objectives of EBFM in the U.S. is a Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP). The first generation of FEPs was conceived in the late 1990s as voluntary guidance documents that Regional Fishery Management Councils could adopt to develop and guide their ecosystem-based fisheries management decisions, but few of these FEPs took concrete steps to implement EBFM. Here, we emphasize the need for a new generation of FEPs that provide practical mechanisms for putting EBFM into practice in the U.S. We argue that next-generation FEPs can balance environmental, economic, and social objectives—the triple bottom line – to improve long-term planning for fishery systems.
Much has been written about the poor relations between fisheries scientists and lay people, but the experience of two field biologists suggests that good relations can exist and have a positive impact on the exchange of knowledge across the “science”—“society” divide. This article is a first attempt to map the contact points between fisheries scientists and lay people and to explore the spin-offs these can have. It presents the results of two surveys conducted with participants at the November 2015 MYFISH/ICES Symposium on “Targets and limits for long term fisheries management”: a real-time Kahoot survey of the audience and a longer, on-line survey some participants filled out following the symposium session. The survey results generally support the supposition that fisheries scientist-society interactions are extremely varied and that much in the way of information exchange and mutual learning can occur. However they also show that trust issues remain in the fisheries management community, but not just between scientists and lay people: fisheries managers and environmental non-governmental organizations may be less trusted by scientists than are lay people. The study concludes by discussing how future studies should be designed and focused and with an invitation for comments from the ICES community.