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An experimental approach to exploring market responses in small scale fishing communities
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3557-6571
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Small-scale fishing communities are increasingly connected to international seafood trade and one way is through exports to a growing global market. Understanding how this connectedness impacts local fishery systems, both socially and ecologically, has become a necessary challenge for fisheries governance. Market prices are a potential mechanism by which global market demands are transferred to small-scale fishery actors, and in most small-scale fisheries this happens through various traders (intermediaries, middlemen/women or patrons). By financing fishing operations, buying and selling products and transferring market information, traders can actively pass international market signals, such as price, to fishers. How these signals influence fishers' decisions and consequent fishing effort is still poorly understood yet significant for future social-ecological sustainability. The paper uses an economic framed field experiment in combination with interviews to shed light on this, in the context of the Philippine patron-client arrangement known as the 'suki system'. Over 250 fishers in Concepcion, Iloilo were in an economic experiment asked to make decisions about fuel loans based on fluctuating market prices. Interviews with participants and their patrons were held to gather information on relevant contextual variables that also could influence financing behaviour such as fisher characteristics and socio-economic conditions. Contrary to our hypotheses, fishers showed no response in their borrowing behaviour to experimental price changes. Instead gender and previous choices in the experiment were predictive of their choice of loans in the experiment and we explore possible reasons for this.

Keywords [en]
Global seafood trade, behavioural economic experiments, gender, patron-client relationship, Philippines, market prices
National Category
Social and Economic Geography Agricultural Science, Forestry and Fisheries
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-160825OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-160825DiVA, id: diva2:1254006
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, 1425704Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchAvailable from: 2018-10-08 Created: 2018-10-08 Last updated: 2018-10-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Catching values of small-scale fisheries: A look at markets, trade relations and fisher behaviour
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Catching values of small-scale fisheries: A look at markets, trade relations and fisher behaviour
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores small-scale fisheries trade, markets and the accompanying relationships. It does so to understand how they contribute to human wellbeing and ecosystem health through fisher's behaviour in the marine environment. The capacity of small-scale fisheries to provide for fisherfolk and wider society is currently challenged by human induced ecological threats such as overexploitation and climate change. Small-scale fisheries are increasingly incorporated into the global trading system, which in part drive these ecological changes. At the same time these fisheries are important providers of food and livelihood security for millions of people worldwide. How to realise better fishery governance approaches and enactment is therefore paramount. This thesis attempts to address knowledge gaps in governance and research that centre around the market and actors within it- an area little included in governing fisheries. I draw on the value chain concept and use a mixed methods approach to address three gaps. First, the structure and functioning of small-scale fishery markets and relations. Second, how benefits are distributed in the market and affected by trade relations. Third, I examine how relations and benefit distributions influence fishing behaviour. Case studies are used throughout this thesis drawing on empirical work done in Zanzibar, Tanzania and Iloilo, Philippines. The role of global seafood markets is additionally recognised as a driver of change in all four papers of the thesis. Paper I shows that extending the value chain to combine economic and informal exchanges identifies a wider range of fishery-related sources for human wellbeing within seafood trade. It also highlights more marginal players. Paper II demonstrates how actor's abilities to access economic benefits are impacted by local gender roles and social relations. But these intersect with their value chain position and end-markets. In Paper III local norms appear to play a role in fishing behaviour, more so than market incentives. These dynamics are explored through behavioural economic experiments. Finally Paper IV examines how patronage can have contradictory influences for fisherfolk vulnerability and adaptability. It can also create tensions for overall system resilience when considered at different scales. Overall the thesis contributes to a better understanding of the local to global drivers and interactions in small-scale fisheries trade. The thesis also provides insights into some of the factors influencing the distribution of fishery-related benefits. These aspects have all been cited as vital for designing strategies for improving the wellbeing of people reliant on fisheries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 64
Keywords
small-scale fisheries, value chains, gender, seafood trade, global markets, patron-client, human wellbeing, benefits, markets, local social dynamics
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-160827 (URN)978-91-7797-452-9 (ISBN)978-91-7797-453-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-11-22, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, 1425704Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2018-10-30 Created: 2018-10-08 Last updated: 2018-11-01Bibliographically approved

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