Investigators: Tim Daw (ODG, UK); Andrew Wamukota (CRCP, Kenya); Jan Robinson (SFA, Seychelles); Joshua Cinner (JCU, Australia)
MAP OF STUDY SITES
Click on the white-marked areas to see a close-up on the study sites.
The ways that fishers allocate their fishing effort in space can affect the ecological impact and the economic performance of fisheries. This spatial behaviour can be influenced by a number of physical, ecological, social, economic, technical, institutional and cognitive factors. Many fisheries development and management interventions aim to alter the spatial distribution of fishing effort but are based on untested assumptions about fishers’ spatial behaviour and their willingness and ability to change it. Thus understanding the spatial distribution of fishing effort is increasingly recognised as an important consideration for fisheries management. Despite this, the spatial behaviour of fishers is poorly understood, especially in the western Indian Ocean and similar regions. This study uses a mixed-methods approach to understand the diverse factors influencing artisanal fishers’ spatial behaviour in Seychelles and Kenya and to investigate evidence for perceived or realised ‘spillover’ benefits to fishers of MPAs.
A semi-structured interview survey will collect data on current fishing behaviour, factors affecting fishers’ decisions, costs of fisheries operations and recent changes in behaviour or factors. This will be followed by a program of participatory effort mapping and catch monitoring that will yield detailed data on spatial behaviour, and spatial patterns in fisheries adjacent, and not adjacent to MPAs. This will be integrated with existing geo-referenced data in GIS to test whether theoretical models of spatial behaviour can be used to predict the distribution of fishing effort and draw out key implications for the design of MPAs and other spatial management measures, and the impacts of global trends in fuel price and technology. Such information is critical to understanding how spatial management strategies and global drivers impact the well-being and sustainability of fishing communities and have practical applications in the design of marine resource management throughout the Western Indian Ocean region.
Research will be conducted in partnership with local fishers, giving them the opportunity to contribute their substantial knowledge as well as engage with debates over the efficacy and cost of MPA establishment. GIS training will also be provided for project researchers. Findings will be published in international and regional journals as well as being fed back to participating communities and relevant policy communities in each country.