Volume 72

Stakeholders’ Perceptions of the Managed Access Programme in Belize: A Q-methodology Approach

Bowman, C; S.C. Mangi; H.A. Oxenford
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 92-93

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

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


Controlling and monitoring fishing effort and understanding human perspectives on fisheries management strategies are paramount to the sustainability of Belize’s fisheries. To address the challenges posed by open access fishing, Belize implemented a Rights-Based Fishery (RBF) management strategy in 2016, known as Managed Access (MA), issuing tenure rights to more than 3,000 traditional fishers in eight distinct fishing areas in its territorial waters. Although RBFs have been successfully applied elsewhere, usually in industrial/large-scale fisheries, their implementation in small-scale coastal fisheries in the Caribbean is under-studied and there is little practical guidance for managers. This study uses Q-Methodology to explore the perceptions of four key MA stakeholder groups on the early impacts of Belize’s MA strategy, and to assess its contribution to the socio-economic value of Belize’s fisheries. Participants were asked to sort 35 statements about the social, economic, biological, administrative, enforcement and compliance aspects of the MA system, using a Q-sort grid. Factor analysis of the Q-sorts provided five distinct perceptions. Perception 1 supports MA but believes some components need revision. Perception 2 has high confidence in the strategy and expects improvements with financial investments. Perception 3 does not believe in the strategy and expresses frustration with it not protecting fishers’ rights. Perception 4 captured the biological concerns not addressed by the strategy, while Perception 5 focused on the strategy’s inability to make the fisheries more profitable thus far. This study contributes to the scarce scientific information on the early stages of RBF implementation in a Caribbean SIDS and could provide valuable guidance to managers as they attempt to improve aspects of the MA.

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