Volume 72

Socioeconomic landscape of a small-scale reef fishery transitioning to co-management

Rivera, A; J. San Martín-Chicas; J. Myton
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 367

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


The management of artisanal fisheries often sidelines the human dimension, which is key to understanding its impact. The Tela Bay (Honduras) is currently transitioning towards the co-management of fishing resources, with the local communities increasingly becoming stewards of their resources. To anticipate the impact of this transition, we assessed the socioeconomic landscape of fishing communities in Tela through open-ended interviews and surveys. Tela has a unique natural resource management entity known as the Environmental Committee that is comprised by actors from the public and private sector, including the National Fishing Authority, who work together in the management of the fishery. The Tela artisanal fishery displays a high level of diversity in harvesting patterns and gears among communities. Furthermore, fishing was reported as the main source of income and food security, it is the main livelihood for 65% of respondents and 90% of all landings remain within the fishers’ local community. Despite fishing being viewed as a low-income profession, fishers report average monthly earnings up to 5 times the minimum wage. The disparity between reported incomes and poverty in the region indicates that management efforts should focus on promoting the equitable distribution of the resource and providing fishers the tools necessary to make the most out of their earnings. Co-management appears to be an advantageous alternative to fishery management in the Tela Bay since the area has a bridging organization between the National authorities and the local communities, it can aid in the development of strategies targeted to each group of users and it can promote the equitable distribution of the resource. Tela can be a useful learning platform for future scaling-up efforts throughout the region.

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