Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why fishermen keep fishing despite dwindling catches

Date:
February 9, 2012
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
Half of fishermen would not give up their livelihood in the face of drastically declining catches, according to new research. A new report challenges previously held notions about poverty and adaptation by investigating why fishermen in developing countries stick with their trade.

Half of fishermen would not give up their livelihood in the face of drastically declining catches, according to research led by the University of East Anglia.
Credit: University of East Anglia

Half of fishermen would not give up their livelihood in the face of drastically declining catches according to research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

A new report, published February 11 by PLoS ONE, challenges previously held notions about poverty and adaptation by investigating why fishermen in developing countries stick with their trade.

Lead author Dr Tim Daw from UEA's School of International Development and the Stockholm Resilience Centre said: "We found that half of fishermen questioned would not be tempted to seek out a new livelihood -- even if their catch declined by 50 per cent. But the reasons they cling on to their jobs are influenced by much more than simple profitability."

Fisheries are challenged by the combined effects of overfishing, climate change, deteriorating ecosystems and conservation policies. Understanding how fishermen respond to these changes is critical to managing fisheries.

The research project is the largest of its kind and was undertaken as a joint project with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia.

Researchers surveyed almost 600 fishers across Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar about how they would respond to hypothetical catch declines.

They then investigated how social and economic conditions, such as local culture and socioeconomic development, influenced whether fishermen were willing to give up their trade.

"Surprisingly, fishermen in the more vibrant and developed economies were less likely to give up their trade -- despite having more economically fruitful opportunities open to them," said co-author Dr Joshua Cinner from the ARC Centre of Excellence for coral reef Studies in Australia.

"This is the reverse of the common belief that poor communities are less likely to adapt than wealthy ones. We suspect that this may be in part due to the perverse impacts of subsidies in more developed countries encouraging people to stay in the fishery which would otherwise not be profitable."

Dr Daw said: "But reduced profitability was certainly not the only deciding factor. Fishers often have an occupational attachment, job satisfaction, family tradition, culture, and a sense of identity, which makes them reluctant to stop fishing -- even when it would be an economically rational decision."

The research demonstrates the complexity of decision making and how willingness to adapt is influenced by a range of factors.

"We have found that willingness to adapt to change is influenced by characteristics of the individual fishermen, their households, and most importantly, the local conditions where they live and work," said Dr Daw.

"Previous studies have been too small to offer insights into larger scale factors. Undertaking such a large study in multiple countries across a gradient of wealth, has allowed us to compare the importance of these factors at different scales for the first time.

Tim McClanahan from the Wildlife Conservation Society said: "It is important to understand why and when fishers will leave a fishery, as the creation of parks, management restrictions, and ecological disasters require that fishers change or leave their fishing practices.

"One of the unexpected findings was that fishermen in a poor country like Madagascar would leave the fishery sooner than those in wealthier countries such as Seychelles. The reason seems to be that they already have diversified livelihoods, while fishermen in wealthier countries may be locked into this occupation.

"This is contrary to many arguments about the impacts of management and climate change on poor people, so will surprise many people working in this field and on resource and disaster management policies"

The findings add to a growing raft of literature which identifies multiple interlocking and dynamic factors which affect people's capacity to deal with environmental change. It is hoped they will help identify points of intervention for conservation policies that aim to reduce fishing effort. They could also help communities become more adaptive to change.

It also highlights the importance of understanding resource-based livelihoods, such as fishing and farming, in the context of the wider economy and society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tim M. Daw, Joshua E. Cinner, Timothy R. McClanahan, Katrina Brown, Selina M. Stead, Nicholas A. J. Graham, Joseph Maina. To Fish or Not to Fish: Factors at Multiple Scales Affecting Artisanal Fishers' Readiness to Exit a Declining Fishery. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (2): e31460 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031460

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Why fishermen keep fishing despite dwindling catches." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209172810.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2012, February 9). Why fishermen keep fishing despite dwindling catches. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209172810.htm
University of East Anglia. "Why fishermen keep fishing despite dwindling catches." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209172810.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins