Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

The spatial behaviour of artisanal fishers. Implications for fisheries management and development

Lead Institution: Overseas Development Group
Project Country:
Investigators: Tim Daw
Project Summary:

The ways that fishers distribute their fishing effort over a fishing ground can affect the ecological impacts on and the economic performance of fisheries. This distribution can be influenced by a number of social, economic, and institutional factors such as technology, management, and fishers‟ knowledge. Many fisheries development and management interventions invariably alter the spatial distribution of fishing effort. Success of interventions such as protected areas and attempts to encourage fishing effort to move offshore often rest on largely untested assumptions about fishers‟ spatial behaviour, and their willingness or ability to change it.

What were the problems the project intended to address?:

The understanding spatial distribution of fishing effort is increasingly recognised as an important consideration for fisheries management. However, the spatial behaviour of fishers is poorly understood, especially in artisanal, developing country fisheries. The vast majority of research into fishers‟ spatial behaviour has been conducted in large-scale fisheries, which are able to make use of data rich vessel monitoring systems that are frequently installed in many fishing vessels. In developing countries, however, these vessel monitoring systems are not used and little empirical work has been done to explore fishers‟ spatial behaviour.
This study used a mixed-methods approach to understand the diverse factors influencing artisanal fishers‟ spatial behaviour and investigate evidence for perceived or realised „spillover‟ benefits to fishers of MPAs. A structured survey and a participatory effort mapping and catch monitoring program in Seychelles and Kenya yielded data on spatial behaviour, factors affecting decision-making, and spatial patterns in fisheries adjacent and not adjacent to MPAs.

Project Objectives:

1. Review the extent to which the spatial behaviour of fishers have been evaluated.
2. Examine the distribution of fishing effort for artisanal fishers in Kenya.
3. Explore how fishers chose their fishing sites in Kenya and Seychelles;
4. Examine displacement of fishing effort in Kenya and Seychelles;
5. Examine evidence for spillover of catch from marine reserves

Study Sites:

1. The spatial behaviour of artisanal fishers: Implications for fisheries management and development (Fishers in Space). Final Report
2. Joshua E. Cinner, Tim Daw, Cindy Huchery, Pascal Thoya, Andrew Wamukota, Maria Cedras & Caroline Abunge (2014) Winners and Losers in Marine Conservation: Fishers’ Displacement and Livelihood Benefits from Marine Reserves, Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal, 27:9, 994-1005, DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2014.918229