Volume 67

Equal But Not The Same: How Fishing Communities Vary in their Vulnerability to Marine Management Policies?

Box, S., M. Funes, S. Bonilla, A. Tilley, M. Nuñez, and D. Vasquez
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Date: November, 2014

Pages: 97 - 98

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty seven Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Christ Church

Country: Barbados


The reliance of coastal communities on small scale fishing can vary greatly depending on localized cultural and socioeconomic circumstance and their access to different marine resources. Marine management, however, often homogenize this inherent diversity into a generic “artisanal fisheries” policy. A mismatch between the spatial scale of policy and the socioeconomic and ecological variability across an area risks creating unequal pressure on individual communities due of their degree of vulnerability to specific regulations. Here, we describe a spatially explicit model to categorize the relative vulnerability of coastal communities to existing or proposed fisheries regulations. We use data on the diversity of small scale fisheries collected from 139 communities along the Honduran Caribbean to explain its application as a decision support tool. Ten distinct fisheries supporting over 5,200 fishers were identified that together extract over one hundred different species of fish and invertebrates from five different marine systems; lagoons, nearshore alluvial, coral reefs, deep shelf and open pelagic environments. We score communities on their spatial dependence, gear diversity, and the species richness of their fisheries and combine this with the contribution of fishing to both the household and community-wide economies.We then assess the vulnerability of these communities by ranking their exposure and susceptibility to changes in resource access bought about by different marine regulations, such as prohibiting specific gears, moratoria on species or establishing no take areas. We review existing and proposed fisheries legislation to visualize their local impact across the coastal zone and identify hotspots of vulnerable communities.

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