Coastal Fisheries Programme
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Number 34 - December 2014



Group Co-ordinator and Bulletin Editor:
Kenneth Ruddle, Asahigaoka-cho 7-22-511, Ashiya-shi, Hyogo-ken, Japan 659-0012.

Information Section, Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, SPC, BP D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia

Produced with financial assistance from Australia, France and New Zealand.

Note from the editor,

In the first paper, “Is community-based fisheries management realising multiple objectives? Examining evidence from the literature”, Philippa Cohen and her co-authors examine locally managed marine areas (LMMAs). They review the literature on LMMAs from throughout the Pacific Islands region to determine their effectiveness.  The authors find that LMMAs are often used to improve the long-term sustainability of fisheries, but that they are also implemented to achieve seven other overarching and interlinked objectives: 1) increasing short-term harvesting efficiency; 2) restoring biodiversity and ecosystems; 3) maintaining or restoring breeding biomass; 4) enhancing livelihoods; 5) reinforcing customs; 6) asserting access rights; and 7) community empowerment. Considering all of these objectives, the authors review empirical evidence of the effectiveness of different management measures or “tools” applied within LMMAs (i.e. permanent closures; periodically harvested closures; restrictions on gear, access or species; livelihood diversification strategies; and participatory and engagement processes). Despite reports of hundreds to thousands of active LMMAs in the Pacific, relatively few empirical cases provide rigorous descriptions of either management being implemented or outcomes demonstrated. Given the importance of community-based management in the Pacific for addressing small-scale fisheries concerns, the authors provide some direction for future research.

The second article, “A review of the past, the present, and the future of fishers’ knowledge research: A challenge to established fisheries science”, written by E.J. Hind, is reprinted here  with the permission of the Oxford University Press. It was published originally in the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Journal of Marine Science. Dr Hind explains that despite its relatively long history, the results of research on fish harvesters’ knowledge remain on the margins of fisheries science. This comprehensive review article describes in broad terms the coverage of fish harvesters’ knowledge literature. It then examines the five “waves” of such knowledge research that have developed during the last 100 years, and assesses the impact of each wave on fisheries science. The author concludes that fish harvesters’ knowledge research will be a productive activity only “... if mainstream fisheries scientists begin to open their discipline to other knowledge cultures and if fishers’ knowledge researchers facilitate this action by disseminating their research so that it is more accessible to these scientists”.

In the final paper, K. Ruddle shares thoughts on some issues and problems that characterise tropical small-scale fisheries. There is no consensus about the category commonly referred to as “small-scale fisheries”. And although millions of people worldwide depend on them, most small-scale fisheries are not well understood scientifically. Nevertheless, homogeneity of the category is commonly assumed, and beyond simple acknowledgement, the diversity, complexity and human ecological dynamics of small-scale fisheries are largely unexamined. Policies based on misplaced assumptions are unlikely to succeed when implemented in a complicated and changing world because the policy-making environment is rendered needlessly complex by the acceptance of naïve notions based on the idealisation of small-scale fisheries as representing both ecological sustainability and social justice. When considering the introduction of either new or replacement governance arrangements for small-scale fisheries it is necessary to appreciate that their diversity, complexity and dynamics preclude a “cookie cutter” panacea for all cases. Introduced governance will succeed only where those characteristics — plus the changing contextual factors that impinge on small-scale fisheries — are taken into account, and where the locally distinct range of “actors” involved is included.

Kenneth Ruddle


Is community-based fisheries management realising multiple objectives? Examining evidence from the literature
Cohen P.J., Jupiter S.D., Weeks R., Tawake A., Govan H. (pdf: 129 KB)
A review of the past, the present, and the future of fishers’ knowledge research: a challenge to established fisheries science
Hind E.J. (pdf: 274 KB)
Tropical small-scale fisheries - Some interwoven issues
Ruddle K. (pdf: 172 KB)

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Traditional #34 (pdf: )


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