Fishery benefits and stakeholder priorities associated with a coral reef fishery and their implications for management

Hicks, Christina C. and Stoeckl, Natalie and Cinner, Joshua E. and Robinson, Jan (2014) Fishery benefits and stakeholder priorities associated with a coral reef fishery and their implications for management. Environmental Science and Policy, 44. pp. 258-270. ISSN 1462-9011

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Fishers often behave in ways that were neither intended, nor anticipated, by managers or policy makers. This is in part because the factors that motivate and constrain behavior people's preferences and their social characteristics are overlooked. We used a case study of coral reef artisanal fishers in Seychelles to assess likely responses to different management approaches by identifying the benefits fishers associate with their coral reef environment, the extent to which they prioritize these benefits, and examining how these priorities relate to their social characteristics. We found that fishers identified a diversity of benefits associated with the fishery but overall fishery, option, bequest, and existence benefits were assigned the highest priorities. Fishers who prioritized fishery benefits, identified as "income", were different to the fishers who prioritized option and bequest benefits, identified as "a right of access for all" and "for our children" - differences that were also reflected in their social characteristics. Fishers who prioritized option and bequest benefits identified avenues to resolve conflicts and were more likely to take action when a norm was broken characteristics thought to enable cooperation. There was a clear relationship between fishers' earnings and the extent to which they prioritized both fishery benefits and option benefits. Specifically, fishers with higher earnings tended to prioritize option whereas fishers with lower earnings tended to prioritize fishery benefits. These findings have important implications for fisheries management decision-making. For example, decentralized approaches, such as fisheries co-management, are only likely to succeed for the group of fishers who demonstrated a high likelihood of cooperation. Due to the relationship between earnings and fishers' priorities, management that influences fishers' earnings (e.g. through a tax), must consider the likely influence on fishers' priorities if it is to avoid unexpected or perverse outcomes. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Journal Article
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Environmental Science and Policy
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25 Jan 2017 15:00
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19 Sep 2023 01:38