|Fishers' behaviour in response to the implementation of a Marine Protected Area.
|Costa, BHorta e, Batista, MI, Gonçalves, L, Erzini, K, Caselle, JE, Cabral, HN, Gonçalves, EJ
|Year of Publication
|Animals, Behavior, Conservation of Natural Resources, Ecosystem, Fisheries, Geography, Portugal, Ships
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been widely proposed as a fisheries management tool in addition to their conservation purposes. Despite this, few studies have satisfactorily assessed the dynamics of fishers' adaptations to the loss of fishing grounds. Here we used data from before, during and after the implementation of the management plan of a temperate Atlantic multiple-use MPA to examine the factors affecting the spatial and temporal distribution of different gears used by the artisanal fishing fleet. The position of vessels and gear types were obtained by visual surveys and related to spatial features of the marine park. A hotspot analysis was conducted to identify heavily utilized patches for each fishing gear and time period. The contribution of individual vessels to each significant cluster was assessed to better understand fishers' choices. Different fisheries responded differently to the implementation of protection measures, with preferred habitats of target species driving much of the fishers' choices. Within each fishery, individual fishers showed distinct strategies with some operating in a broader area whereas others kept preferred territories. Our findings are based on reliable methods that can easily be applied in coastal multipurpose MPAs to monitor and assess fisheries and fishers responses to different management rules and protection levels. This paper is the first in-depth empirical study where fishers' choices from artisanal fisheries were analysed before, during and after the implementation of a MPA, thereby allowing a clearer understanding of the dynamics of local fisheries and providing significant lessons for marine conservation and management of coastal systems.
|PubMed Central ID