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SEA CHANGE: Social-ecological co-evolution in Baltic Sea fisheries
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3201-9262
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Sustainable management of natural resources requires an in-depth understanding of the interplay between social and ecological change. Linked social-ecological systems (SES) have been described as complex adaptive systems (CAS), which mean that they are irreducible, exhibit nonlinear dynamics, have interactions across scales and are uncertain and unpredictable. These propositions have however rarely been tested empirically, in part due to a lack of methodological approaches and suitable datasets. In this thesis, I address this methodological and empirical gap in a study of long-term change of Baltic Sea fisheries. In Paper I, we develop the concept of fishing style through integrating multivariate statistical analysis and in-depth interviews. We thereby identify an intermediate level of detail for analyzing social-ecological dynamics, embracing the case specific and context dependent approaches of the social sciences with the generalizable and quantifiable approaches from the natural sciences. In Paper II we ask: How has the Baltic Sea fishery been regulated over time, and can we identify a way to quantify regulations in order to be able to analyze their effects? We analyze all regulatory changes in Sweden since 1995 with a new methodology and conclude that there is a clear trend towards increased micro-management. In Paper III, we use the fishing styles developed in Paper I and examine how they have changed over time. We relate these changes to the dynamics of regulation (Paper II), as well as to the dynamics of fish stocks and prices. We conclude that regulation has been the main driving force for observed changes, but also that regulation has prompted significant specialization and decline in flexibility for fishers over time. These changes are unintended consequences and may represent a looming risk for the long-term sustainability of this social-ecological system. Paper IV zooms in on a particular fishery, the pelagic trawl fishery for sprat Sprattus sprattus and Atlantic herring Clupea harengus, mainly targeted for the production of fishmeal and fish oil. Suspicions of non-compliance in this fishery motivated us to apply a statistical approach where we used socioeconomic data to re-estimate the historical catches in this fishery (a novel approach to catch-reconstruction estimates). We found that catches had been significantly underreported over several years, with consequences for the quality of stock assessments and management. The study underlines the importance of understanding linked social, economic and ecological dynamics for sustainable outcomes. Finally, Paper V takes a longer historical look at the Baltic Sea fishery, using regionally disaggregated data from 1914-2009 (96 years), which were analyzed with a novel type of nonlinear statistical time-series methods (Empirical Dynamical Modeling). Our analysis explicitly recognized the potential nonlinear dynamics of SES and showed high predictability across regions of catches and prices of cod Gadus morhua and herring. The signal was generally nonlinear and predictability decreased strongly with time, suggesting that the dynamics of this SES are ever-changing. To our knowledge, this is the first long-term analysis of a SES using empirical data and methods developed from the CAS field of research. The main contributions of this thesis are the integrated analysis of social and ecological data, the development of novel methods for understanding SES dynamics, insights on the ever-changing nature of CAS and the quantitative analysis of management outcomes. Future work should focus on assessing the generality of these findings across a broad range of SES and evaluate alternative governance approaches given the complexity and uncertainty of SES suggested by this thesis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University , 2015.
Keyword [en]
resilience, social-ecological systems, complex adaptive systems, fisheries, Baltic Sea
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122372ISBN: 978-91-7649-275-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-122372DiVA: diva2:865918
Public defence
2015-12-18, G-salen, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-11-26 Created: 2015-10-29 Last updated: 2015-11-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Classifying fishers' behaviour. An invitation to fishing styles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Classifying fishers' behaviour. An invitation to fishing styles
2016 (English)In: Fish and Fisheries, ISSN 1467-2960, E-ISSN 1467-2979, Vol. 17, no 1, 78-100 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study and classification of fishers’ behaviour remains a much debated topic. There is a tension between detailed empirical studies, which highlight the variety and diversity of fisheries, and the parsimony and generalization required to satisfy science and policy demands. This study contributes to this debate. The first sec- tion reviews quantitative methods currently used for classifying fishing practices. The review uncovers significant weaknesses in quantitative classification methods, which, we argue, can be improved through the complementary use of qualitative methods. To this purpose, we introduce the concept of ‘fishing style’, which integrates quantitative classification methods with qualitative analysis. We explain the scientific premises of the fishing-style concept, outline a general methodological framework and present a fishing-style analysis of Swedish Baltic Sea fisheries. Based on these results, we conclude that it is possible to classify fishing practices in a rel- atively uniform and limited number of styles that can highlight the rich, empirical diversity of fishers’ behaviour. We therefore propose that fishing-style analysis, based on an integration of quantitative and qualitative methods, can be an impor- tant step towards more effective and sustainable fisheries management.

Keyword
Classification, fisheries management and policy, fishers’ behaviour, fishing styles, mixed methods
National Category
Fish and Aquacultural Science
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120334 (URN)10.1111/faf.12092 (DOI)000371240900004 ()
Available from: 2015-09-07 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
2. Can fisheries management be quantified?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Can fisheries management be quantified?
2014 (English)In: Marine Policy, ISSN 0308-597X, E-ISSN 1872-9460, Vol. 48, 18-20 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Policy efforts to reduce fisheries impact have often created micro-management. Detailed regulations are restricting the fishing industry, and are also acknowledged to limit the progress towards sustainable management. Industry representatives, political bodies and scientists have therefore argued for more simplicity and transparency. Here, fisheries management is quantified in terms of trends in regulations for different Swedish fisheries in the Baltic Sea during the period 1995–2009. The results suggest that many fisheries are suffering from increased micro-management, but interestingly some fisheries showing a different trend.

Keyword
Common Fisheries Policy, Micro-management, Regulations, Baltic Sea, Fisheries
National Category
Fish and Aquacultural Science
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120332 (URN)10.1016/j.marpol.2014.02.021 (DOI)000336697000003 ()
Available from: 2015-09-07 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. Management Forcing Increased Specialization in a Fishery System
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Management Forcing Increased Specialization in a Fishery System
2015 (English)In: Ecosystems (New York. Print), ISSN 1432-9840, E-ISSN 1435-0629, Vol. 18, no 1, 45-61 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fisheries systems are shaped by dynamic social-ecological interactions that determine their capacity to provide ecosystem services. Human adaptation is often considered a key uncertainty, and there are few quantitative empirical analyses that address long-term social and ecological change in the analyses of fisheries systems. The aim of this study was twofold: (i) to understand how different drivers influenced the adaptations by fishers, and (ii) to evaluate different consequences of such adaptations, especially with regard to diversity of social and ecological links. We used the Baltic Sea as a case study, a system with different fisheries, largely managed with a single-stock advice, in a top-down basis. The study period 1995-2009 was characterized by profound inter-annual fluctuations in fish stock status and prices, and introduction of new types of management measures. We used multivariate statistical methods to define longitudinal changes in fishing tactics and strategies based on logbook data. Our results indicate that changes in fishing strategies have mainly been driven by regulations, and there were only weak linkages between fishing activities, fish stocks, and price fluctuations. We found contrasting trends between large- and small-scale fishers, where large-scale fishers became more specialized and inflexible, whereas small-scale fishers diversified over time. We conclude that management has had a dominating role in shaping fishing patterns, leading to a reduction of important qualities related to the resilience in this social-ecological system.

Keyword
fisheries management, social-ecological systems, Baltic Sea, resilience, diversity, redundancy, metiers analysis, fishing strategies, ecosystem, markets
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-115474 (URN)10.1007/s10021-014-9811-3 (DOI)000349434400004 ()
Note

AuthorCount:4;

Available from: 2015-03-26 Created: 2015-03-24 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
4. Does fisheries management incentivize non-compliance? Estimated misreporting in the Swedish Baltic Sea pelagic fishery based on commercial fishing effort
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Does fisheries management incentivize non-compliance? Estimated misreporting in the Swedish Baltic Sea pelagic fishery based on commercial fishing effort
2014 (English)In: ICES Journal of Marine Science, ISSN 1054-3139, E-ISSN 1095-9289, Vol. 71, no 7, 1846-1853 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fisheries management agencies and fishing industry representatives depend on reliable estimates of fish biomass and mortality for the determin- ation of sustainable catch levels. Lack of data or misreporting may be reasons for unreliable stock assessment, which, in turn, may result in advice that does not reflect the availability of fisheries resources. It has been suggested that the mixed pelagic trawl fisheries in the Baltic represent a case of biased estimates of fish biomass and mortality resulting from misreporting. Here, we estimate the degree of misreporting in the Swedish pelagic fishery (1996 – 2009) and propose an approach for reconstructing historical catches based on commercial effort data. The analysis suggests that total catches have been underestimated during part of our study period and that systematic misreporting of species composition has taken place over the whole study period. The analysis also suggests that there is overcapacity in the fishery and that such economic incentive could explain the general patterns of misreporting. Applying our method for fisheries with suspected misreporting could significantly improve assessment accuracy, reduce uncertainty and thereby allow for a better link between catches and resource levels. 

Keyword
Baltic Sea, herring, incentives, misreporting, non-compliance, reconstruction, sprat, stock assessment
National Category
Fish and Aquacultural Science
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120333 (URN)10.1093/icesjms/fsu036 (DOI)000343315900028 ()
Available from: 2015-09-07 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
5. Strong nonlinearities in an ever-changing social-ecological system: A data-driven empirical study of the historical development of the Baltic Sea
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strong nonlinearities in an ever-changing social-ecological system: A data-driven empirical study of the historical development of the Baltic Sea
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Understanding linked social and ecological dynamics is a pre-requisite for sustainable use of natural resources. Integrated quantitative studies of such linked systems have however been scarce due to lack of suitable methods and data. In this paper, we apply state-of-the-art nonlinear time series methods (EDM) to nine decades of spatially explicit fisheries data to investigate their empirical dynamics. We found that fish prices, and to a less extent fish catches, were predictable beyond linear change or temporal correlations, and highly nonlinear. Moreover, we found that the system appeared to be drifting, indicating gradual changes in internal feedback strength and thus limiting predictability over long time periods. Our results indicate that predictability in social-ecological systems may be relatively modest, which may call for an adaptive, risk-averse approach to ecosystem management. 

Keyword
Social-ecological systems, Complex adaptive systems, Baltic Sea, EDM
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122353 (URN)
Available from: 2015-10-29 Created: 2015-10-29 Last updated: 2015-11-13Bibliographically approved

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