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Conservation and stewardship in small-scale fisheries: Practices and lessons from around the world

Room: Salon F     Sunday, July 31, 2016; 11:00 - 13:00

NB: Unless specified otherwise, presentation time slots are 15 minutes, and speed presentation times slots are 5 minutes. An asterisk * indicates the presenting author.

The importance of small-scale fisheries to food security, livelihoods, and well-being of millions of people globally is highly recognized. However, their interactions, both positive and negative, with ecosystems and the resulting implications for conservation are not thoroughly understand. Research generally focuses on the negative impacts of these fisheries on ecosystems, rather than on the positive roles these fisheries could play in conservation and stewardship. Ecological impacts of small-scale fishing, while not always thoroughly researched, are considered to be high. This presumption frequently leads to decisions about conservation that not only affect the viability of small-scale fishing communities, but also impede their participation as stewards of resources and marine ecosystem. This session calls for (1) studies that illustrate impacts of small-scale fishing in ecosystems, and (2) examples of how small-scale fisheries contribute to improving resource sustainability and ocean health, as well as lessons about stewardship practices that they engage in. Ultimately, the session aims to broaden the discourse about the role of small-scale fisheries in marine conservation, based on empirical evidence, and to engage in discussion about marine resource governance that enables contribution of small-scale fisheries in conservation and stewardship as a means to address global concerns in marine ecosystems.

Whitty, TS, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Chuenpagdee, R, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John\'s

1.   11:00  So what if closures are temporary and voluntary? A case of snow crab fisheries in Newfoundland. Olson, K *, Memorial University, NL; Chuenpagdee, R Memorial University, NL;

Abstract: Spatial or temporal closures have long been used in fisheries management. Although their goals are similar to those promoted by Marine Protected Areas (MPA), i.e. resource recovery and biodiversity conservation, they do not receive the same attention in the global policy arena. The long-term benefit of these closures is often questioned because they tend to be temporary, and in some cases, voluntary. We argue that these closures have an important role to play in resource conservation and ecosystem stewardship. Voluntary closures in particular, may contribute more to fisheries sustainability than would be achieved through a MPA, due to the heightened involvement of fish harvesters in the conservation effort. We illustrate their potential, using a case study in Newfoundland, Canada, where two adjacent communities have attempted to voluntarily close their crab fisheries. Our analysis revealed several benefits of voluntary closures associated with fisheries, including increased harvester participation in management, enhanced compliance, ease of implementation and decreased management costs. Our study also showed factors that may inhibit their implementation. While voluntary closures may not offer the same permanent protection as a MPA, they offer unique, localized solutions that contribute to global marine resource recover efforts.

2.   11:15  Reconstructing stewardship: Local conservation practices and principles in Alaska's small-scale fisheries . Donkersloot, R *, Alaska Marine Conservation Council ; Carothers, C School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences;

Abstract: Neoliberal policies and the commodification of fishing rights are often identified as necessary tools to address enduring conservation concerns in North Pacific and global fisheries. Alaska's small-scale and community-based fisheries offer alternative constructions of stewardship which challenge the ownership-promotes-stewardship thesis which continues to drive fishery privatization processes. This paper draws on examples of local fishing practices evidenced in Alaska's small-scale fisheries to 1) reconstruct stewardship as place-based, multi-generational, social and inclusive of attachments to place and resource, and 2) demonstrate the contribution of small-scale fisheries in community and resource sustainability. We highlight community-based access as a principle of conservation and discuss ways to incorporate more holistic approaches to managing healthy social-ecological systems.

3.   11:30  Autonomous actions to restore damaged corals by Onna Village Fishery Cooperative producing significant impacts on coastal social ecological systems. Sato, T *, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature; Yanaka, S Tottori University;

Abstract: Onna Village Fishery Cooperative in the west coast of Okinawa Island, Japan, has 290 members of small-scale fishers mainly engaging Mozuku sea weed (Nemacystus decipiens) aquaculture in shallow waters. They were the first developer of aquaculture techniques of the species in 1970s, playing leading roles up to now in the industry. The cooperative and fishermen have long been aware of importance of coral reefs offshore of the Mozuku farming grounds as a source of nutrients for the sea weed. However, the corals along the coast had been deteriorated by outbreaks of a coral predator and massive breaching in 1998 and 2001. The cooperative launched the program to develop original aquaculture technologies of reef-building corals in 1999, applying accumulation of aquaculture experiences of important fishery species including Mozuku. The coral aquaculture attempts have made a significant success, with wide range restoration of coral reefs and spawning of artificially planted corals in natural waters. The coral planting activities using cultured corals have engaged tourists, diving industries and large companies in Japan to provide diverse stakeholders with opportunities to participate in coral restoration. In this paper, the impacts of coral restoration led by small-scale fishers are discussed in relation to importance of livelihood-based knowledge and technologies and catalytic roles of local fishery cooperatives to mobilize broader scale actions for coastal conservation.

4.   11:45  An interdisciplinary approach to study long-term coastal exploitation at Holbox Island in the North coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Rubio-Cisneros, N *, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV), Unidad Merida; Herrera-Silveira, J Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV), Unidad Merida; Moreno-Baez, M Independent Researcher; Saenz-Arroyo, A El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), San Cristobal, Chiapas; Rissolo, D University of California, San Diego; Glover, J Department of Anthropology, Georgia State University; Gotz, C Faculty of Science, Department of Anthropology, Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan; Morales-Ojeda, S , Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV), Unidad Merida;

Abstract: This study documents the history of fishing at Holbox Island through an interdisciplinary approach that integrates ecological, historical, archaeological, and fishers' traditional knowledge. The aim is to determine how small-scale fishing activities have contributed to declines in coastal resources and their near shore environments. We collected 13 open interviews and 41 systematic surveys of fishers' perspectives on fisheries overexploitation, practices, and knowledge of fishing sites. Survey results coupled with historical and archaeozoological data from excavations at the Mayan coastal site of Vista Alegre allow the construction of maps with baseline information of long-term coastal exploitation. Preliminary results identify 50 fishing sites that were once very productive, including 40 highly fished species over the past 40 years. Additional data from archaeozoological remains on aquatic fauna show 33 families of exploited taxa, of which sharks and sea turtles were the most abundant. Fishers' and literature sources (n= 33) report increasing fishing effort through the mid 20th century, overfishing of higher trophic level fish, and contemporary illegal fishing in lagoonal sites. Combining these types of data (fishers' perspectives, interdisciplinary literature, historical and archaeozoological data), using historical ecology techniques and geospatial tools, we provide essential knowledge necessary for understanding the conservation needs of the Island's natural capital.

5.   12:00  Social Networks and Transitions to Co-Management in Jamaican marine reserves and small-scale fisheries. Alexander, SM *, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center/ Stockholm Resilience Centre; Armitage, D University of Waterloo; Charles, A St. Mary's University;

Abstract: How social networks support or constrain the transition to co-management of small-scale fisheries and marine reserves is poorly understood. We present a comparative analysis of the social network structures associated with the transition to co-management in three Jamaican marine reserves. Data from quantitative social relational surveys (n=380) were integrated with data from semi-structured interviews (n=63) and focus groups (n=10) to assess how patterns of relational ties and interactions between and among fishermen and other local level actors (e.g., managers, wardens) support and constrain the transition to co-management. Our research suggests that the transitions to co-management were supported by a combination of three network structure and relational attributes: (i) the presence and position of institutional entrepreneurs; (ii) a dense central core of network actors; and (iii) the prevalence of horizontal ties and vertical linkages held by the community-based organizations formally responsible for the management of the marine reserves. Our findings also show that overall low network cohesion in the three reserves and limited social influence among the wardens may be problematic for sustained collective action that extends beyond the core set of network actors.

6.   12:15  Small scale fisheries stewardship meet big planning: towards a participatory spatial management in Brazil. Vila-Nova, DA *, Projeto Babitonga Ativa; Herbst, D Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina; Gerhardinger, LC Universidade da Região de Joinville; de Carvalho, FG Universidade da Região de Joinville;

Abstract: The Babitonga Ativa project is the first initiative at a regional level to promote the empowerment of small scale fisheries and other less influential stakeholders in a participatory spatial planning endeavor in Brazil. The Babitonga Bay, the southernmost large estuarine-mangrove system in the Atlantic, has a marine protected area being co-designed in a bottom-up approach--engaging federal, state and six municipal authorities and civil society organizations in an inclusive, science-oriented process. The project is being assisted by a cross-disciplinary cooperation integrating marine spatial planning, valuation of ecosystem services, social network analysis and social learning methodologies. This present work focuses on participatory mapping methodologies to employ local ecological knowledge of small scale fisheries and other stakeholders, and how this spatial data is being used to build a collaborative platform for multi-city management. On-site workshops enabled them to identify user areas, as well as biological attributes of the region. All data has been digitalized in a GIS, and areas with great overlap of likely conflicting enterprises are being taken into account by the managers and the federal prosecution service. This approach has a great potential to help reducing the impact of activities that could endanger both the effectiveness of the new MPA, small scale fisheries and other uses in the region.

7.   12:30  Small-scale fisheries stewardship in a changing world: lessons from behavioral economics. Finkbeiner, E *, Stanford University; Micheli, F Stanford University; Cardenas, JC Universidad de los Andes; Vasquez, L Comunidad y Biodiversidad; Perafan, CA EcoSur; Saenz, A EcoSur;

Abstract: Small-scale fishers are intricately tied to their local coastal environment and rely heavily on the availability of marine resources for livelihoods, food security and culture. As small-scale fisheries become increasingly connected across scales and exposed to external drivers of change vis-à-vis climate change, globalized markets, or human migration patterns, the availability of, and access to, local marine resources has become uncertain. Increasing uncertainty in a fishery can drive change in fishers' behaviors, but exactly how is still contested. We used behavioral economics techniques, coupled with social science surveys, across six small-scale fishing cooperatives in Baja California to ask, how does fishing behavior change as a result of uncertainty? And what mechanisms enable this behavior change? Results suggest that fishers in this region respond to uncertainty by increasing cooperation and stewardship behavior suggesting high adaptive capacity. This behavior is enabled by strong institutional organization and coordination, coupled with previous experiences with high levels of uncertainty. Our results suggest a strong potential for stewardship and human agency in small-scale fishing communities in the face of uncertainty. Furthermore, change and uncertainty might be considered opportunities for the emergence of stewardship behavior given the presence of strong local institutions.

8.   12:45  Panel Discussion.

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