Volume 72

Using Oral Histories and Participatory Mapping to Understand the Biological Impacts and Resilience of Fishermen to Red Tides on the West Florida Coast.

McPherson, M; M. Karnauskas; S. Blake; A. Rios; S. Sagarese; M. Jepson
Download PDF Open PDF in Browser

Other Information

Date: November, 2019

Pages: 178-180

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

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


The effect of red tides on ecosystem services can generate additive and potentially synergistic effects that can have far-reaching impacts on commercial and recreational fishermen and coastal communities. A series of summer 2018 workshops led by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center with fisheries stakeholders on the southwest Florida coast highlighted serious concerns regarding the multifaceted impacts of red tide. In addition to the obvious fish kills and water quality issues, stakeholders have observed extensive habitat damage related to red tide, and have noted that recovery of fish populations has been increasingly delayed following recent and frequent red tides. In response to these concerns, we developed an initiative to systematically explore local ecological knowledge (LEK) regarding red tides with fishermen using oral histories and participatory mapping. Goals of the LEK assessment were to: 1) document red tide locations, frequency and severity over time and space, 2) document impressions of how red tides/blooms develop and their impact on different fish populations and habitats, 3) identify possible ecological signals and stakeholder-driven hypotheses of red tide event occurrence and severity, and 4) document the adaptation strategies fishermen have employed in the face of red tide events. Some 60 interviews were conducted with fishermen along the west Florida coast. Relevant information was extracted from each of the oral histories and was quantified to compare the recent 2017-2018 event to previous events in terms of severity, recovery time, temporal extent and species killed. This presentation will focus in particular on the use of oral history information in the recent red grouper stock assessment and the adaptive strategies of fishermen in the face of red tide events.

PDF Preview