Extending the Bajo de Sico, Puerto Rico, Seasonal Closure: An Examination of Small-scale Fishermen’s Perceptions of Possible Socio-economic Impacts on Fishing Practices, Families, and Community

Tonioli, Flavia C. and Agar, Juan J. (2009) Extending the Bajo de Sico, Puerto Rico, Seasonal Closure: An Examination of Small-scale Fishermen’s Perceptions of Possible Socio-economic Impacts on Fishing Practices, Families, and Community. Marine Fisheries Review, 71(2), pp. 15-23.

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Official URL: http://spo.nmfs.noaa.gov/mfr712/mfr7122.pdf

Abstract

Despite considerable conservation efforts, many reef fish fisheries around the world continue to be in peril. Many are vulnerable to overexploitation because they have predictable and highly aggregated spawning events. In U.S. Caribbean waters, fishery managers are increasingly interested in advancing the use of closed areas as a means for rebuilding reef fisheries, protecting coral reef habitats, and furthering ecosystem-based management while maintaining the sustained participation of local fishing communities. This study details small-scale fishermen’s views on the Caribbean Fishery Management Council’s proposals to lengthen the current Bajo de Sico seasonal closure off the west coast of Puerto Rico to afford additional protection to snapper-grouper spawning populations and associated coral reef habitats. Drawing on snowball sampling techniques, we interviewed 65 small-scale fishermen who regularly operate in the Bajo de Sico area. Snowball sampling is a useful method to sample difficult-to-find populations. Our analysis revealed that the majority of the respondents opposed a longer seasonal closure in the Bajo de Sico area, believing that the existing 3-month closure afforded ample protection to reef fish spawning aggregations and that their gear did not impact deep-water corals in the area. Whilst fishermen’s opposition to additional regulations was anticipated, the magnitude of the socio-economic consequences described was unexpected. Fishermen estimated that a year round closure would cause their gross household income to fall between 10% and 80%, with an average drop of 48%. Our findings suggest that policy analysts and decision-makers should strive to better understand the cumulative impacts of regulations given the magnitude of the reported socio-economic impacts; and, more importantly, they should strive to enhance the existing mechanisms by which fishermen can contribute their knowledge and perspectives into the management process.

Item Type: Article
Title: Extending the Bajo de Sico, Puerto Rico, Seasonal Closure: An Examination of Small-scale Fishermen’s Perceptions of Possible Socio-economic Impacts on Fishing Practices, Families, and Community
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Tonioli, Flavia C.
Agar, Juan J.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Fisheries Review
Volume: 71
Number: 2
Page Range: pp. 15-23
Date: 2009
ISSN: 0090-1830
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Fisheries
Management
Item ID: 9689
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2012 16:40
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2012 16:41
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/9689

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