Understanding the mental constructs underlying people's social responses, decisions and behaviors is crucial to defining the governance challenges faced in dealing with marine anthropogenic litter. Using interactive governance theory, this study provides qualitative insights into how a small group of Arab-Israeli artisanal fishermen perceive marine litter and its impact (system to be governed) in the context of the socio-institutional structures (governing system) which manage waste and aim to protect the surrounding environment. It demonstrates that, until the relationships between local people and the various governing institutions are transformed, there is little hope for citizen cooperation in reducing marine litter long-term in the case-study site. More generally, underlying narratives and politics playing out at a local level need to be understood in order to identify which interventions are likely to be effective and which are not. An intervention checklist to assess the potential effectiveness of a marine litter intervention is proposed.
Social-Ecological Systems and Human Wellbeing
In many parts of the world, both wild and cultured populations of bivalves have been struck by mass mortality episodes because of climatic and anthropogenic stressors whose causes and consequences are not always clearly understood. Such outbreaks have resulted in a range of responses from the social (fishers or farmers) and governing systems. We analyzed six commercial bivalve industries affected by mass mortalities using I-ADApT, a decision support framework to assess the impacts and consequences of these perturbations on the natural, social, and governing systems, and the consequent responses of stakeholders to these events. We propose a multidimensional resilience framework to assess resilience along the natural, social, and governing axes and to compare adaptive responses and their likelihood of success. The social capital and governability of the local communities were key factors affecting the communities’ resilience and adaptation to environmental changes, but the rapid degradation of natural ecosystems puts the bivalve industry under a growing threat. Bivalve mariculture and fishing industries are likely to experience increased frequency, severity, and prevalence of such mass mortality events if the resilience of the natural systems is not improved. An understanding of previous adaptation processes can inform strategies for building adaptive capacity to future events.
Scholars increasingly recognize the world as a collection of complex, integrated, socioecological systems. The increasing popularity of interdisciplinary research and training across North America, as well as funding structures requiring socially relevant outcomes, reflects a growing appreciation that current ecological conditions are inextricably linked to human socioeconomic and cultural systems, and are affected by human decisions. This realization necessitates an ever-wider variety of perspectives to understand and act wisely within the world. One outcome of this recognition is that “human dimensions” specialists, often known as social scientists, are sometimes included on projects to provide the social perspective. Unfortunately, this inclusion too often happens without understanding the range of human dimensions specialties, what type of social information or approach is needed, or how the skills of human dimensions colleagues can help. The result can be frustration on all sides, the perpetuation of existing academic silos, and work that is less imaginative and less important than it should or could be.
Understanding feedbacks between human and environmental health is critical for the millions who cope with recurrent illness and rely directly on natural resources for sustenance. Although studies have examined how environmental degradation exacerbates infectious disease, the effects of human health on our use of the environment remains unexplored. Human illness is often tacitly assumed to reduce human impacts on the environment. By this logic, ill people reduce the time and effort that they put into extractive livelihoods and, thereby, their impact on natural resources. We followed 303 households living on Lake Victoria, Kenya over four time points to examine how illness influenced fishing. Using fixed effect conditional logit models to control for individual-level and time-invariant factors, we analyzed the effect of illness on fishing effort and methods. Illness among individuals who listed fishing as their primary occupation affected their participation in fishing. However, among active fishers, we found limited evidence that illness reduced fishing effort. Instead, ill fishers shifted their fishing methods. When ill, fishers were more likely to use methods that were illegal, destructive, and concentrated in inshore areas but required less travel and energy. Ill fishers were also less likely to fish using legal methods that are physically demanding, require travel to deep waters, and are considered more sustainable. By altering the physical capacity and outlook of fishers, human illness shifted their effort, their engagement with natural resources, and the sustainability of their actions. These findings show a previously unexplored pathway through which poor human health may negatively impact the environment.
This paper examines factors influencing well-being among small-scale fishers in the Gulf of Thailand. 632 small-scale fishers were interviewed at 21 fish landing areas along the coast of Rayong Province. Data concerning respondents’ background information, perception of job satisfaction, resilience, conservation beliefs, environmental ethics, well-being and landing place context were collected. Multivariate statistical analyses of these variables are used to assess factors influencing perceptions of well-being (environmental and individual well-being components). The results demonstrate that two components of job satisfaction Basic Needs and Self-actualization are two significant variables affecting both Environmental and Individual well-being. Fishers living in areas with industrial pollution or in major urban communities are less satisfied with the environment. Similarly, fishers who are concerned about the importance of the environment and members of a fishery association at the province level have lower levels of Environmental well-being. The study also found that, fishers who feel they have the ability to get work elsewhere or who manifest a higher level of resilience are happier with their lives than those with lower resilience. An important aspect of fisheries social impact assessment concerning proposed changes, management or technological, is the impact on well-being. The findings of this study offer several practical findings that, if applied, will contribute to sustainability of fisheries in Thailand and similar locations.
Distributions of Earth’s species are changing at accelerating rates, increasingly driven by human-mediated climate change. Such changes are already altering the composition of ecological communities, but beyond conservation of natural systems, how and why does this matter? We review evidence that climate-driven species redistribution at regional to global scales affects ecosystem functioning, human well-being, and the dynamics of climate change itself. Production of natural resources required for food security, patterns of disease transmission, and processes of carbon sequestration are all altered by changes in species distribution. Consideration of these effects of biodiversity redistribution is critical yet lacking in most mitigation and adaptation strategies, including the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Coastal hypoxia (dissolved oxygen ≤ 2 mg/L) is a growing problem worldwide that threatens marine ecosystem services, but little is known about economic effects on fisheries. Here, we provide evidence that hypoxia causes economic impacts on a major fishery. Ecological studies of hypoxia and marine fauna suggest multiple mechanisms through which hypoxia can skew a population’s size distribution toward smaller individuals. These mechanisms produce sharp predictions about changes in seafood markets. Hypoxia is hypothesized to decrease the quantity of large shrimp relative to small shrimp and increase the price of large shrimp relative to small shrimp. We test these hypotheses using time series of size-based prices. Naive quantity-based models using treatment/control comparisons in hypoxic and nonhypoxic areas produce null results, but we find strong evidence of the hypothesized effects in the relative prices: Hypoxia increases the relative price of large shrimp compared with small shrimp. The effects of fuel prices provide supporting evidence. Empirical models of fishing effort and bioeconomic simulations explain why quantifying effects of hypoxia on fisheries using quantity data has been inconclusive. Specifically, spatial-dynamic feedbacks across the natural system (the fish stock) and human system (the mobile fishing fleet) confound “treated” and “control” areas. Consequently, analyses of price data, which rely on a market counterfactual, are able to reveal effects of the ecological disturbance that are obscured in quantity data. Our results are an important step toward quantifying the economic value of reduced upstream nutrient loading in the Mississippi Basin and are broadly applicable to other coupled human-natural systems.
There is a growing interest in working with customary management (CM) systems to effectively manage benthic resources and small-scale fisheries. The underlying notion is that CM institution as territorial use rights in fisheries (TURFs) can be sufficiently adaptive and dynamic to create the local incentives that are necessary for promoting sustainable fishing practices and marine conservation more generally in a given region. This paper reviews the social opportunities and challenges of working with CM systems as a form of TURF, particularly in Oceania. A key conclusion is that policy makers and managers not only need to recognize natural interconnectivity in any one marine space, but also consider the social interconnectivity of stakeholders that covers customary TURFs. Only by recognizing and working with the existing social networks that overlay any given marine territory can the operational principles of CM (as reviewed in this paper) be effectively deployed for achieving some kind of bioeconomic efficiency and creating an equitable rights-based fisheries management system.
The broad scale and rapid rate of change in the global environment is causing some of the world's most challenging problems, such as habitat degradation, loss of biodiversity, and food insecurity. These problems are especially pressing in coastal environments in the tropics, resulting in significant impacts on human wellbeing and ecological systems across the globe. The underlying causes of marine and coastal environmental change are both anthropogenic and natural; and, while it is difficult to parse out causal linkages as either exclusively human or naturally occurring, feedbacks between drivers only exacerbate the issues. Increasingly, scholars are turning to integrated research efforts, whereby multiple disciplines are used to answer pressing questions about and find solutions for the sustainability of human life and natural ecosystems across the coastal tropics. This article leverages the recent wave of interdisciplinary research to explore the various ways in which the social sciences have successfully contributed to a more complete understanding of coastal systems across the tropics. It also identifies opportunities for research that move beyond single disciplinary approaches to coastal science. The concluding discussion suggests social science knowledge areas that are underutilized in coastal research and provides suggestions for increasing the incorporation of social science in coastal research programs.
- SE Puerto Rican and NE Region US fishermen's job satisfaction and well-being is compared.
- Data from Point Judith, RI 1977 is used for time comparison in US.
- Overall job satisfaction levels were high among both Puerto Rico and US fishermen.
- Puerto Rico and Point Judith 1977 presented the highest levels of job satisfaction.
- Changes in fishery management negatively affects job satisfaction among US fishermen.