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One of the main goals in fisheries governance is to promote viability and sustainability in small-scale fishing communities. This is not an easy task given external and internal pressure, including environmental change and competition with other economic sectors searching for development in the coastal region. A comprehensive understanding of small-scale fisheries in their own context, and from a regional perspective, is an important step in supporting the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines). This book contributes to the global effort by offering knowledge, insights and lessons about small-scale fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The 20 case studies included in the book make explicit the various dimensions that are intrinsic to small-scale fisheries in the region, and identify conditions and situations that affect the wellbeing of fishing communities. The book offers insights regarding the challenges faced by small-scale fisheries in the region, and, aligning with the objectives of the SSF Guidelines, provides lessons and experiences about how to make small-scale fishing communities viable while maintaining sustainable fisheries.

This important book illustrates the complexity, diversity, and dynamics of small-scale fisheries in the Latin American and Caribbean region and presents experiences, tools, and approaches to lead towards sustainable and viable fisheries. The reader will gain a new understanding on the range of actions, approaches, and information needed for their successful management.

John F. Caddy, International Fisheries Expert

This book, prepared by the Too Big To Ignore partnership, constitutes a very valuable resource for policy makers, fisheries scientists, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, and fishing communities interested in putting in place sound management strategies, research, and actions to contribute to the sustainability of small-scale fisheries and food security in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Juan Carlos Seijo, Professor of Fisheries Bioeconomics at Marist University of Merida





Chapter 1. Big Questions About Sustainability and Viability in Small-Scale Fisheries

Like elsewhere around the world, small-scale fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean are highly diverse and complex, thus posing great challenges to governance. Coupled with these characteristics are the various changes that small-scale fisheries are exposed to, including climate-induced changes, environmental variability, and market fluctuation. Several tools and approaches have been used to manage small-scale fisheries in the region and lessons from their application provide a strong basis for the discussion about what needs to be done in light of these changing conditions. The focus on the viability and sustainability of small-scale fisheries, which is the topic of the book, aligns with the objectives of the international instruments such as The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries and the Sustainable Development Goals. The chapter provides the rationale for the examination of viability and sustainability in small-scale fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean and introduces the case studies covered in the book.
Ratana Chuenpagdee, Silvia Salas, María José Barragán-Paladines

Chapter 2. Overview of Small-Scale Fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean: Challenges and Prospects

The importance of small-scale fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean has been widely recognized in terms of income, livelihoods, and food security for more than two million people. The highly diverse ecosystems and multiple species found within this region determine the variety of fishing techniques, gears, and target species, as discussed in this chapter. These diverse and complex characteristics pose challenges to the region’s governing systems, which may lack the technical and financial resources to cope with the numerous resulting management and governance challenges. These pressures are further exacerbated when fisheries assessment and monitoring are poorly conducted, adding uncertainty in relation to the status of the ecosystem and fish stocks. Small-scale fisheries activities thus have become vulnerable in the face of various challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean. Current efforts to enhance small-scale fisheries viability and sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean include the adoption of innovative management approaches that focus on the entire ecosystems rather than on single species and that acknowledge the concerns of local stakeholders in decision-making through strategies such as collaboration with the government in co-management arrangements. Although many of these co-management arrangements in the region are still nascent, this chapter highlights that fishers and their organizations play a significant role in responsible resource governance through exercising ecosystem stewardship.
Mirella de Oliveira Leis, María José Barragán-Paladines, Alicia Saldaña, David Bishop, Jae Hong Jin, Vesna Kereži, Melinda Agapito, Ratana Chuenpagdee

Issues, Challenges and Threats


Chapter 3. Adaptive Capacity to Coastal Disasters: Challenges and Lessons from Small-Scale Fishing Communities in Central-Southern Chile

More frequent and severe coastal disasters represent major threats to small-scale fisheries and challenge their viability and potential as an engine of sustainable development. Hurricanes and storm surges and alluviums and tsunamis, among other fast and unexpected events, often drive multiple and overlapping social and environmental impacts. They also influence changes to which fishing communities must respond and adapt, such as threats to life, material devastation, natural resource loss, and ecosystem transformations. Based on empirical case studies and secondary sources, this chapter examines the successes and failures of small-scale fishing communities in the central-southern Chile since the massive February 2010 earthquake and tsunami. This study draws lessons about the key factors of adaptive capacity among coastal resource user communities. The analysis reinforces the importance of social capital and networks, local ecological knowledge, and livelihood agility, as well as stresses several opportunities and drawbacks that need to be observed on the way to pursue more sustainable small-scale fisheries. A better understanding of what makes a difference for fishing communities in response to natural hazards and other external perturbations can inform the design of more equitable and effective fisheries and coastal management policies, along with strategies in Chile and elsewhere.
Andrés Marín

Chapter 4. Small-Scale Fisheries on the Pacific Coast of Colombia: Historical Context, Current Situation, and Future Challenges

Small-scale fisheries in the Colombian Pacific are not very significant in a global context but make a large contribution to total national fish landings, play a pivotal role in sustaining the livelihoods of coastal communities, and supply the demand for fish protein at the local and national levels. This importance is likely to rise in the coming years given the estimated increase of national fish consumption, the regional infrastructure development plans, and the predicted increase in coastal accessibility if the peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC is successfully implemented and the region is pacified. This chapter aims to explain how artisanal fisheries have developed in the Colombian Pacific coast over the last 30 years, explaining the different types of fisheries, their current situation, and the advances and challenges facing sustainable management. Signs of overexploitation of some fisheries resources appeared as early as the 1990s (e.g., white shrimps, mangrove cockles). Updated stock assessments of these resources are needed, together with other target fisheries currently under pressure. Ecosystem-based fisheries management actions, like the establishment of MPAs and the introduction of fishing gear that reduces bycatch, have resulted in increased awareness of the importance of sustainable fisheries management and biodiversity conservation. Current challenges include further increasing this level of awareness about sustainable fishing practices, and overcoming the frequent disconnect between fisheries governmental, private, and other societal sectors. Advances in these areas could lead to more sustainable fishing practices that could be used to face the predicted scenarios of increased fish and shellfish national demand.
Gustavo A. Castellanos-Galindo, Luis Alonso Zapata Padilla

Chapter 5. Cooperation, Competition, and Attitude Toward Risk of Small-Scale Fishers as Adaptive Strategies: The Case of Yucatán, Mexico

There is a worldwide recognition of the challenges that fishing communities face with respect to changing environments, market integration, and different sources of uncertainty. In this context, to be able to implement policies oriented to increase adaptive capacity in fishing communities and improve fisheries governance, it is important to understand the factors underlying fishers’ attitudes, the decisions they make, and the strategies they develop to face uncertain conditions. We present two case studies from the Yucatán coast in Mexico that reveal the complex and challenging realities of marine resource use in fishing communities and highlight why it is necessary to enhance adaptive capacity for good governance in small-scale fisheries. In both cases, we observed risk-averse and risk-prone attitudes in fishers’ operations in response to changing conditions. In one case, cooperative actions were observed in the community, but those arrangements have been changing in response to increasing uncertainty in catches, the participation of newcomers, and unreliable surveillance. We argue that the decrease in resource abundance, lack of social capital, and weak institutions can increase overall uncertainty and prompt diverse responses from fishers to compensate for such conditions. We contend that strengthening the adaptive capacity of people in fishing communities can be promoted through cooperation among community members, scientists, and public institutions as the first step toward improving fisheries governance.
Silvia Salas, Oswaldo Huchim-Lara, Citlalli Guevara-Cruz, Walter Chin

Chapter 6. Drivers of Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in Coastal Fishing Communities of Tabasco, Mexico

Global climate change will become an additional source of stress on coastal fishing communities. Therefore, adaptation to climate change is becoming a key feature for the development of sustainable livelihoods in these socioecological systems and has become a priority for governments. Analysing and highlighting the factors that influence the adaptive capacity of communities in these contexts have become an urgent matter for governments to overcome foreseeable threats. In this study, a qualitative bottom-up approach was used to explore the conditions affecting the drivers of adaptive capacity of three small-scale artisanal fishing communities dealing with the oil industry and threatened by climate change in Tabasco, Mexico. Information about the adaptive capacity of these communities was obtained through semi-structured interviews and was analysed using a set of proxy indicators: (1) flexibility and diversity, (2) capacity to organize, (3) learning and knowledge, and (4) access to assets. The analysis confirmed that adaptive capacity is highly context-specific but also revealed that multiple ways of adaptation are conditioned by historical social agreements and geographic location, as well as defined by adverse conditions that force individuals to diversify their income sources. Our findings emphasize the need to analyse adaptive capacity on a local scale to better inform policymakers and improve adaptation policies’ design. Reducing the negative impacts of climate change in fishing communities in Tabasco is possible, but social, economic, and cultural changes must first occur on different levels ranging from the government to the communities themselves.
Octavio Tolentino-Arévalo, Marianna Markantoni, Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio, Maria Azahara Mesa-Jurado

Monitoring, Management and Conservation


Chapter 7. From Fishing Fish to Fishing Data: The Role of Artisanal Fishers in Conservation and Resource Management in Mexico

Although, the involvement of artisanal fishing communities in conservation and management is now commonplace, their participation rarely goes beyond providing local and traditional knowledge to visiting scientists and managers. Communities are often excluded from ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and decision-making, even though these measures can have tremendous impacts on their livelihoods. For the past 17 years, we have designed, tested, and implemented a community-based monitoring model in three key marine ecosystems in Mexico: the kelp forests of Pacific Baja California, the rocky reefs of the Gulf of California, and the coral reefs of the Mesoamerican Reef System. This model is intended to engage local fishers in data collection by fulfilling two principal objectives: (1) to achieve science-based conservation and management decisions and (2) to improve livelihoods through access to knowledge and temporary employment. To achieve these goals, over 400 artisanal fishers and community members have participated in a nationwide marine reserve program. Of these, 222 fishers, including 30 women, have been trained to conduct an underwater visual census using SCUBA gear, and, to date, over 12,000 transects have been completed. Independent scientists periodically evaluate the training process and standards, and the data contribute to international monitoring efforts. This successful model is now being adopted by both civil society and government for use in different parts of Mexico and neighbouring countries. Empowering community members to collect scientific data creates responsibility, pride, and a deeper understanding of the ecosystem in which they live and work, providing both social and ecological benefits to the community and marine ecosystem.
Stuart Fulton, Arturo Hernández-Velasco, Alvin Suarez-Castillo, Francisco Fernández-Rivera Melo, Mario Rojo, Andrea Sáenz-Arroyo, Amy Hudson Weaver, Richard Cudney-Bueno, Fiorenza Micheli, Jorge Torre

Chapter 8. Assessing and Managing Small-Scale Fisheries in Belize

Belize is a global leader in marine conservation, widely recognized for innovative and effective ecosystem-based management. The management of small-scale fisheries in Belize is a recent example. Historically, Belize’s commercial fisheries had been managed as an open access resource. In recent years, the number of fishermen and fishing pressure has increased, exacerbating the risk of overfishing and overcapitalization and threatening to erode profits, reduce food production, impact livelihoods, and adversely impact ecosystems. Belize is engaged in two initiatives to reduce this risk: (1) the implementation of spatial secure fishing privileges, known as Managed Access in Belize and (2) the development of an adaptive fisheries assessment and management framework. In this chapter, we describe these two initiatives and highlight the factors associated with successful outcomes observed, thus far, including the engagement of fishermen in the design and implementation of Managed Access and the adaptive management framework. We also discuss the importance of joint workplanning and execution and the need for flexibility and adaptation as new information is obtained and as political and other conditions change.
Rod Fujita, Amy Tourgee, Ramon Carcamo, Lawrence Epstein, Todd Gedamke, Gavin McDonald, Jono R. Wilson, James R. Foley

Chapter 9. Exclusive Fishing Zone for Small-Scale Fisheries in Northern Chocó, Colombia: Pre- and Post-implementation

Exclusive fishing zones (EFZs) are a type of place-based management tool designed primarily to mitigate conflicts between fishing sectors by granting exclusive rights to one sector to fish the resources that occur in a specific area. As with other tools, several factors can determine effectiveness of EFZs, and knowing what these factors are could lead to improving how the tool is performed. The effectiveness of EFZs depends first and foremost on the way in which they are considered, how they are introduced, and by whom. Such an understanding is especially pertinent when EFZs involve small-scale fisheries in order to avoid violation of rights or the displacement of livelihoods. Learning about the effects of EFZs on small-scale fisheries provides useful insights for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines), which were developed to protect the rights of small-scale fishers and fish workers around the world. Under this premise, this chapter presents a case study of an EFZ established in Chocó, Colombia, in 2008. Specifically, it examines the pre- and post-implementation processes of the Chocó-EFZ, asking questions about what triggered its establishment, who was involved in the process, who was excluded, and what challenges it faced in the implementation. Finally, insights from the case study are drawn, along with a discussion of the implications for the implementation of the SSF Guidelines in Colombia.
Viviana Ramírez-Luna, Ratana Chuenpagdee

Chapter 10. The Challenge of Managing Amazonian Small-Scale Fisheries in Brazil

Amazonian fisheries in Brazil contribute to the food security of over 20 million people who are mostly poor. However, multiple examples suggest that freshwater fish stocks may be under the same overfishing threats observed in marine fisheries, in addition to all the risks imposed by infrastructure development projects. While such threats may push some of these vulnerable people to the edge as some fisheries collapse, others will be pushed toward makeshift or elaborated solutions which can help them to maintain or restore local fisheries. In this chapter, we first adopt a theoretical approach to explore the main threats to Amazonian small-scale fisheries and their direct impacts on people’s livelihoods. We then move on to an empirical solution-based comparison between different types of co-management initiatives, using case studies developed within a protected area framework and community-based arrangements. We expect to show how small-scale fishers themselves can be the best, and sometimes the only, alternative for management. The different kinds of management broaden the application of eventual patterns, discrepancies, limitations, and solutions identified for Amazon to inland fisheries.
Priscila F. M. Lopes, Gustavo Hallwass, Alpina Begossi, Victória J. Isaac, Morgana Almeida, Renato A. M. Silvano

Chapter 11. Moving from Stock Assessment to Fisheries Management in Mexico: The Finfish Fisheries from the Southern Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea

As a signatory of important international fisheries agreements, Mexico should develop and implement proper fisheries management structures to maintain or restore populations in order to maintain sustainable fisheries within its exclusive economic zone. To do so, proper stock assessments of fishery resources based on scientific evidence are required. While this step is not as a legally binding obligation, it is important for understanding the status of fisheries stocks and how Mexican law and regulatory measures should go about accomplishing national and international goals effectively. In this context, small-scale finfish fisheries (SSFF) play a significant role in the Mexican coastal regions in the southern Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea (GMCS). Nonetheless, SSFF have received limited attention despite their contribution in terms of commercial landings, contribution to the diet of coastal communities, and as source of income and employment. In this chapter, we summarize the management and regulatory framework associated with the SSFF in the GMCS. We then evaluate the status of these resources based on catch data of SSFF in the GMCS using two approaches. We developed a typology of these fisheries to define categories and then used a traffic light system to show the status of the resources and management tools used in each case. This chapter also discusses the need for an integral approach to assess and manage this type of fishery and recommends adaptations that are required to improve management strategies for these resources.
Gabriela Galindo-Cortes, Lourdes Jiménez-Badillo, César Meiners

Socio-Economic, Markets and Livelihoods


Chapter 12. Socioeconomic Monitoring for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries: Lessons from Brazil, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Obtaining reliable socioeconomic information on small-scale fisheries for use in decision-making at multiple levels of governance remains a challenge for conventional approaches to data gathering, analysis, and interpretation on a global scale. Fisheries information is most often derived from biophysical data rather than human or socioeconomic sources. Even where socioeconomic data are used, the complexity of small-scale fisheries as adaptive social-ecological systems (SES) presents further challenges to aligning information, interventions, and objectives. This chapter presents the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative for Coastal Management (SocMon) methodology for assessing the social-ecological dynamics of small-scale fisheries. It uses case studies from the Caribbean region, where SocMon has been applied for over 10 years, and from Brazil, which recently implemented the methodology. The cases examine how three features of SocMon—comprehensive socioeconomic data gathering linked to biophysical parameters, participatory methods that include stakeholders in data collecting and management, and integrated information and knowledge mobilization for decision-making—contribute to better understanding of small-scale fisheries dynamics. The cases outline challenges to implementing SocMon from a fisheries adaptive co-management perspective. The SocMon participatory methodology for monitoring socioeconomic dimensions and dynamics was found suitable for informing adaptive co-management and developing adaptive capacity in small-scale fisheries.
Peter Edwards, Maria Pena, Rodrigo Pereira Medeiros, Patrick McConney

Chapter 13. Values Associated with Reef-Related Fishing in the Caribbean: A Comparative Study of St. Kitts and Nevis, Honduras and Barbados

A critical component of any fishery is its economic viability, and understanding the underlying socioeconomic factors that affect fishing activity and profitability allows for more informed management. Nevertheless, data on small-scale fisheries in the Caribbean are limited, potentially inhibiting informed and appropriately scaled policy implementation. In an attempt to better understand the economics of reef-associated fisheries across the Caribbean, interviews were conducted with over 182 commercial reef fishers in three types of communities (heavily dependent on reef fishing, on reef tourism and on both) in each of three contrasting countries (St. Kitts and Nevis, Honduras and Barbados). For each of the nine study sites, estimated annual net revenues from reef-associated fishing ranged from US PPP$0.03–0.95 million. Reef fishing was most profitable in St. Kitts and Nevis, where fishers have access to productive lobster and conch fishing grounds and an export market. In the Bay Islands (Honduras), most reef-related revenues were derived from snapper and grouper fisheries (for export), whereas in Barbados, where these high-value species (conch, lobster, snapper and grouper) are rare, revenues were comparably low. The reef fishery also represented an important social safety net across all communities, providing employment and a potentially critical source of protein to many low-income persons. These results demonstrate the current socioeconomic benefits of reef-associated fishing to coastal communities as well as the diversity of economic values among Caribbean sites. This site diversity highlights the need for fisheries policy and management to be guided by site-specific information rather than generalized assumptions about the industry.
David A. Gill, Hazel A. Oxenford, Peter W. Schuhmann

Chapter 14. The Contribution of Small-Scale Fisheries to Food Security and Family Income in Chile, Colombia, and Peru

Small-scale fisheries in Chile, Colombia, and Peru contribute directly to the livelihoods of more than 400,000 fisherfolk. Direct interviews were conducted, and focus groups with fishers, their families, and official authorities in selected fishing communities in these countries were organized. Along with a survey conducted to estimate the contribution of small-scale fisheries to family protein consumption and income, the results showed wide differences among fishing communities. While in the Colombian Pacific the average family income derived from small-scale fishing activities is around $200 USD per month, less than the official minimum wage in Colombia, in Southern Chile small-scale fisheries-derived family income averages $728 USD per month, more than three times the official national minimum wage. A common major concern among most fishing families is the lack of social healthcare protection. As far as family consumption of protein is concerned, the results of the study show that family fish consumption depends on capture volume, cash disposal, and access to sources of protein other than fish. However, by far the major source of protein of the families involved in small-scale fisheries is fish, regardless of family purchasing power and the availability of other sources of protein. Fish consumption in small-scale fisheries-dependent families ranged between 20–291 Kg/person/year in Colombia, 104–156 Kg/person/year in Chile, and 39–218 Kg/person/year in Peru, each of which are higher than official nationally reported averages. Moreover, when capture volumes decrease or during seasonal closures, families prefer to buy fish locally or in neighboring communities rather than consume beef, chicken, or pork, regardless of price.
Javier Villanueva García Benítez, Alejandro Flores-Nava

Chapter 15. Seafood Supply Chain Structure of the Fishing Industry of Yucatan, Mexico

Today’s small-scale fisheries contribute more than half of the total marine fish catch to the world’s fishing industries, but they are facing overexploitation, increases in demand, overcapitalization, and new challenges imposed by fish markets and climate change. This work examines how the Yucatan region’s fishing industry has organized its resources to face new hurdles and maintain its position in the market. The chapter considers a resource-based view perspective and uses a qualitative-exploratory methodology based on interviews with the Yucatan’s leading fishing entrepreneurs. This methodology allowed the study to describe the nature of the main industry processes and relationships which give place and continuity to the fish trade. The main findings show that the ownership of major fishing capital such as vessels, boats, and processing plants is not enough to ensure access to seafood in every season but rather suggests that what is needed is the development of different levels of relations which are long term and seasonal in nature across different supply chain members (fishers, middlemen, and skippers). Furthermore, firm owners’ ability to organize fishing effort according to the fish available each season and to link with traders and suppliers according to market demand has been a key resource to maintain this industry in the market. Finally, the chapter shows how small-scale fisheries are part of an important supply chain for large processing plants and make a key contribution to their existence and continuity in the market. At the same time, small producers’ participation in the market is limited and controlled by these fishing businesses.
Carmen Pedroza-Gutiérrez

Chapter 16. Analyzing Fishing Effort Dynamics in a Multispecies Artisanal Fishery in Costa Rica: Social and Ecological System Linkages

Research on fishery fleet dynamics and fisher behavior often rely on rational economic assumptions to explain decision-making processes based on cost and income expectations as an input to management strategies. However, understanding the complexity of small-scale fisheries, which are defined by their importance as a source of income, employment, food security, and cultural traditions, requires the use of emerging systemic thinking concepts to face the challenges involved in their management. In this study, fishing effort dynamics and two types of diver behavior are analyzed within the multispecies fishery at Playa Lagarto, Costa Rica. We sought to answer whether or not the allocation of fishing operations that defines fishing effort responds to only the rational economic theory or to other dynamics related to the fishery’s social and ecological systems. Also, given different dive methods, tactics, and factors that define catch variability, fisher behavior drivers were explored. A combination of surveys, interviews, and a participatory diagnostic approach were used to collect data during fishing trips. Although some target species were common to both dive methods, differences in the spatial and temporal allocation of fishing effort were evident due to different fishing tactics. When facing environmental constraints, social interactions fostered cooperative tactics in order to maintain or even increase their catches. Given these results, a set of recommendations were outlined that could improve sustainability and strengthen the socio-ecological resilience of the fishery.
Helven Naranjo-Madrigal, Andrew B. Bystrom

Chapter 17. The Embrace of Liwa Mairin: Lobster Diving and Sustainable Livelihoods on the Nicaraguan Miskito Coast

This chapter seeks to explore the governance challenges associated with lobster diving on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. Driven by external market pressure, commercial lobster diving has become a dangerous activity for Miskito men due to the inadequate equipment used by indigenous divers, the precarious working conditions under which they operate, and the environmental effects that this fishery has on the resource base. Against the backdrop of relatively recent and progressive domestic legislation promising to prohibit lobster fishing through diving, current policy debates are delaying meaningful actions to protect Miskito divers and the livelihoods of coastal communities that depend on multiple target fisheries. The chapter contends that the governance and viability of the lobster fishery would be better served through a combined strategy of law enforcement mechanisms, human rights protections, responsible labor-capital practices, and the careful consideration of alternative livelihoods for fishing communities.
Miguel González

Communities, Stewardship, and Governance


Chapter 18. Collaborative Coastal Management in Brazil: Advancements, Challenges, and Opportunities

In Brazil, during the past 20 years, several dynamic collaborative coastal management (CCM) arrangements have emerged in response to a variety of changing social and ecological conditions. These arrangements have led to an equally large range of outcomes, such as the fishing agreements in the Amazon basin and marine extractive reserves in coastal areas. This chapter describes the evolution of these collaborative management arrangements in coastal Brazil. We begin by introducing the major policies related to environmental management in Brazil, focusing particularly on the evolution of fisheries management and protected areas management. We continue with an overview of (i) key events and issues that have shaped CCM in Brazil; (ii) the achievements for the advancement of CCM over the past years; and (iii) current challenges to the advancement of CCM. We conclude the chapter with our ideas and associated thinking about what lies ahead to promote CCM in Brazil.
Cristiana Simão Seixas, Iain Davidson-Hunt, Daniela C. Kalikoski, Brian Davy, Fikret Berkes, Fabio de Castro, Rodrigo Pereira Medeiros, Carolina V. Minte-Vera, Luciana G. Araujo

Chapter 19. Where Small-Scale Fisheries Meet Conservation Boundaries: MPA Governance Challenges in Southern Brazil

Marine ecosystem health is threatened globally by overfishing and habitat damages, among other things, creating major challenges for the sustainability and governance of aquatic environments. With a push toward increasing coastal and ocean protection through spatial management measures, an overlap between these marine protected areas (MPAs) and small-scale fishing grounds is expected to occur. Since MPAs are never established in a vacuum, there is a need to account for the ecological, social, and governance contexts into which they are being inserted. However, such considerations are not common, and the lack of integration of these essential elements in the design and the implementation of MPAs has often resulted in lowering their governability. We illustrate this tendency using a case study of the Marine National Park of Currais Islands in Southern Brazil, which was established without any consultation with small-scale fishers whose livelihoods and well-being depend on the use of the area in question. Using a governability assessment framework, we examine the diversity, complexity, dynamics, and scale issues associated with the natural, social, and governing systems. In addition to revealing that governance of this MPA is a “wicked problem,” the study shows that the MPA adds more complexity to a system where issues such as lack of trust and low governing capacity exist.
Mirella de Oliveira Leis, Ratana Chuenpagdee, Rodrigo Pereira Medeiros

Chapter 20. Supporting Enhancement of Stewardship in Small-Scale Fisheries: Perceptions of Governance Among Caribbean Coral Reef Fishers

Small-scale fishing livelihoods dependent on Caribbean coral reefs face an uncertain future with global climate change and mounting anthropogenic pressures threatening ecosystem integrity and resilience. In the context of future threats to coral reefs, improved governance is critical to enhance the efficacy of coral reef management. Recent research places increasing emphasis on identifying governance arrangements that enable participation and engagement, with the improved ‘social fit’ of institutions expected to engender stewardship among fishers. However, few studies have examined the perspectives of resource users in relation to a wide range of articulated principles for good governance processes. This study contributes to an improved understanding of how fisher perceptions relate to diverse governance arrangements in the Wider Caribbean Region. We quantify perceptions among 498 reef-dependent fishers in relation to principles of ‘good governance’ in 12 communities across four Caribbean countries: Barbados, Belize, Honduras, and St. Kitts and Nevis. We describe perceptions relating to two underlying governance themes – institutional acceptance (reflecting principles of legitimacy, transparency, fairness, and connectivity) and engagement in reef governance (reflecting principles of accountability and inclusiveness). In addition, we identify socio-demographic factors associated with each set of perceptions and explore the implications for future governance of small-scale Caribbean reef fisheries. The findings suggest that an understanding of heterogeneous perceptions within small-scale fisheries can inform more targeted interventions to improve the fit of governance arrangements for different groups. Governance may be more effective if perceptions are used to identify areas in which to pursue greater engagement of resource users in stewardship.
Rachel A. Turner, David A. Gill, Clare Fitzsimmons, Johanna Forster, Robin Mahon, Angelie Peterson, Selina Stead

Chapter 21. Existing Institutional and Legal Framework and Its Implications for Small-Scale Fisheries Development in Brazil

Ineffective implementation of small-scale fisheries public policy seems to be related to existing institutional and legal arrangements, which affects the social and ecological sustainability of fishing communities in developing countries such as Brazil and the Latin American and Caribbean region more broadly. This dynamic has serious economic consequences for the sector, and, as a result, this lack of sustainability and institutional weakness can obstruct the implementation of public policies to enforce management measures. This chapter introduces a method of analysis and evaluation of Brazil’s institutional and legal framework for small-scale fisheries sustainability as a strategy to improve the development, control, and monitoring of fisheries rules and management measures at local, national, and regional levels. This framework is intended to facilitate the implementation of public policies for sustainable and responsible small-scale fishing. As a methodological approach, we argue that it is necessary to confront legal instruments and initiatives linked to fisheries at national and international levels, as well as the existing fisheries management system. This dynamic brings forth serious economic implications for the sector and, most significantly, may thwart the implementation of public policy intended to enforce measures needed for sustainable management. This analysis and evaluation of the Brazilian institutional and legal framework, although preliminary, is a proposition on the necessity to reach three goals for national management regimes: to stay attuned with international legal instruments, to examine existing small-scale fishing communities’ expectations and outlook, and to contribute to establishing an efficient and effective institutional and legal framework.
Sérgio Macedo G. de Mattos, Matias John Wojciechowski

Chapter 22. Exploring the Governability of Small-Scale Fisheries in Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Under the Buen Vivir Principle

Fisheries in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are a very complex, diverse, and dynamic sector. Unfortunately more often than not, policies and practices applied to govern fisheries have proven to be inappropriate. Small-scale fisheries in mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands face multiple challenges mostly linked to the limited governability of the fisheries systems. By using empirical evidence based on triangulation of qualitative open-ended surveys and intensive literature review, this chapter explores the fisheries sector in Ecuador through the lenses of the Buen Vivir standpoint, which is the guiding principle of Ecuador’s National Development Plan. Under the interactive governance approach, which is used as the primary analytical framework, this chapter examines the challenges encountered in governing small-scale fisheries in both the Ecuadorian mainland and Galapagos Islands. This chapter highlights the coincidences and mismatches between the two normative instruments simultaneously operating in these two regions. Main findings confirm the existence of incongruities between the Buen Vivir-inspired national development path and the policies and practices taken to address small-scale fisheries issues. Yet, common grounds between both instruments exist, and they may serve to pave the road for a comprehensive governance model for the national fisheries systems. We suggest that by implementing a comprehensive overarching national policy framework for fisheries, the Buen Vivir principle – ruling the national development plan – would be better illustrated. By doing such, the overall governability of fisheries in Ecuador would improve, and thus the sustainability of small-scale fisheries and the viability of fishing communities in both regions would be fostered.
María José Barragán-Paladines



Chapter 23. Drivers and Prospects for the Sustainability and Viability of Small-Scale Fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean

The global increase in demand for seafood products has accelerated the exploitation of many key fisheries resources, contributing to reduced ecosystem health and threatening fishing livelihoods. Small-scale fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean are exposed to those global changes and other threats, which affect their viability and sustainability. In this chapter, we present a synthesis of some of the contributions of the authors to this book in order to illustrate successful and failed experiences at dealing with complex dynamic systems, such as small-scale fisheries, and discuss the necessary conditions and limitations that affect prospects for ensuring viable fisheries and sustainable livelihoods. Understanding the driving factors that threaten small-scale fisheries, as well as the contexts in which they operate, is imperative for reducing vulnerability and achieving sustainability. We synthesize experiences and lessons derived from the chapters in this book, providing examples of the types of challenges small-scale fisheries in different countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region are facing and discussing how actors at different scales are dealing with them. Several of the authors advocate developing and promoting integrated assessment approaches, diversifying income sources, and increasing adaptive capacity in fishing communities. Tools and frameworks for assessment and management are also discussed based on the information presented and the literature review in this chapter. Finally, we offer some suggestions for improving fisheries governance to achieve sustainable and viable fisheries in the region.
Silvia Salas, Ratana Chuenpagdee, María José Barragán-Paladines


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