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Food security and ecosystem service generation of seagrass-associated small-scale fisheries: the case of southwest Madagascar
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Small-scale fisheries play globally a crucial role for food security and poverty alleviation. This is particularly true in developing countries, where people often are to a high extent depending on the resources their surrounding ecosystems have to offer. Many small-scale fisheries around the world are however under pressure, and in the need of better management. A seascape approach including all habitats has been emphasized for marine small-scale fisheries. This study is based on interviews with fishers and investigates the importance of seagrass beds for small-scale fishery households and their food security of in southwestern Madagascar. The three specific aims of this study were to: i) analyze if seagrass-associated fish contributes to subsistence and/or economy of local fishing households, ii) identify and compare seagrass ecosystem goods and services valued by local people in a rural and an urban setting and iii) analyze links between local people and seagrasses in terms of local ecological knowledge, use and traditions. The results show that seagrasses are the most important fishing habitats for most fishers, seagrass-associated fish species are both the most important and most commonly fished species, and seagrass derived fish and invertebrates are highly important daily sources of animal protein. The highest valued seagrass ecosystem goods and services are the provision of fishing grounds and the provision of food and income for the communities in general. These findings illustrate that seagrasses contribute both through subsistence and income generation to food security and wellbeing of coastal people in southwestern Madagascar. Therefore, there is a need to consider seagrass ecosystems in management of small-scale fisheries, to build more resilient small-scale fisheries which can sustain food security for future generations.

Keyword [en]
seascape management, seagrass, provision of fish, ecosystem services, subsistence, income
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-141045OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-141045DiVA: diva2:1085459
Available from: 2017-03-29 Created: 2017-03-29 Last updated: 2017-03-31Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Fishing for sustainability: Towards transformation of seagrass-associated small-scale fisheries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fishing for sustainability: Towards transformation of seagrass-associated small-scale fisheries
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Small-scale fisheries employ many millions of people around the world, and are particularly important in developing countries, where the dependency on marine resources is high and livelihood diversification options are scarce. In many areas of the world however, small-scale fisheries are at risk which threatens the food security and wellbeing of coastal people. Small-scale fisheries management has in many cases been insufficient and new comprehensive approaches are recommended to achieve social-ecological sustainability in the long-term. The aim of this thesis is to analyze empirically how social-ecological elements of seagrass-associated small-scale fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean region can be addressed for a transformation from the current mostly degraded state to more sustainable social-ecological systems and secure future livelihoods. The main method used was semi-structured interviews with local fishers. The main findings show the crucial contributions seagrass-associated small-scale fisheries make to food security and income generation and highlight the need to acknowledge the social-ecological importance of seagrasses in the seascape (Paper I). A discrepancy between low societal gains of the fishing of sea urchin predator fish species and their crucial importance in the food web (in controlling sea urchin populations and the associated grazing pressure on seagrasses) was identified (Paper II). These results suggest catch-and-release practice of sea urchin predator fish species, which could contribute to more balanced predator – sea urchin – seagrass food webs in the long run. The use of illegal dragnets was identified as a major threat to local seagrass meadows (Paper IV). Institutional elements influencing the use of such destructive dragnet were identified to be normative, cultural-cognitive and economic, which constitutes an institutional misfit to the current emphasis on regulative elements in a hierarchical manner (Paper III). Concerning future co-management initiatives, gear restrictions and education were the favoured management measures among all fishers (Paper IV). A majority of fishers were willing to participate in monitoring and controls, and most fishers thought they themselves and their communities would benefit most from seagrass-specific management. These findings highlight the need for actions on multiple scales, being the local-, management-, policy- and governance levels. The suggested actions include: education and exchange of ecological and scientific knowledge, gear management including the cessation of dragnet fishing, strengthening of local institutions, an active participation of fishers in enforcement of existing rules and regulations and an introduction of adequate alternative livelihood options.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, 2017. 69 p.
Keyword
small-scale fisheries, co-management, social-ecological systems, ecosystem services, institutions, transformation, seagrass meadows, destructive gear, food-web interactions
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-141052 (URN)978-91-7649-762-3 (ISBN)978-91-7649-763-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-05-05, Vivi Täckholmsalen, NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-04-10 Created: 2017-03-29 Last updated: 2017-04-03Bibliographically approved

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