The economic impact of global change on fishing and non-fishing households in the Tonle Sap ecosystem, Pursat, Cambodia

This paper investigates the economic impact of future global change on fishing dependent inhabitants of the Tonle Sap floodplain in Cambodia. We compare the net income from individuals’ current livelihoods to that derived from reallocating their livelihood activities under 4 different scenarios depicting future change. Respondents generally chose to retain their current livelihood strategy under all future scenarios. Less than 10% of those who did change livelihood allocation actually experienced a gain in economic benefits. Those engaged in single livelihoods experienced an average income loss of 18% across all scenarios, compared to 9% for the multi-livelihood group. Respondents’ choices generated the best economic outcome under a status quo scenario, thus suggesting a low capacity to adapt when faced with unfamiliar future scenarios. Our study contributes to identifying and understanding the economic impact of future global changes on fisheries dependent individuals in the Tonle Sap floodplain ecosystem.

Can we meet the Target? Status and future trends for fisheries sustainability.

We assess progress towards Aichi Biodiversity Target 6, which aims to achieve global fisheries sustainability by 2020. Current trends suggest that the proportion of fish stocks within safe ecological limits is likely to decline until 2020. While model projections show a considerable reduction in overexploited stocks by 2050 if climate change is not considered, there will be a substantial increase in the risk of overexploited fish stocks if climate change is taken into account. Overall, although there is progress toward rebuilding fisheries in some developed nations, this improvement is insufficient to meet the Aichi Target by 2020; there is a need for substantial changes to current fisheries policy and management if Target 6 is to be met.

An appeal for a code of conduct for marine conservation.

Marine conservation actions are promoted to conserve natural values and support human wellbeing. Yet the quality of governance processes and the social consequences of some marine conservation initiatives have been the subject of critique and even human rights complaints. These types of governance and social issues may jeopardize the legitimacy of, support for and long-term effectiveness of marine conservation.

Having it all: can fisheries buybacks achieve capacity, economic, ecological, and social objectives?

The objective of this study is to assess the performance of fishery buybacks so as to determine the conditions under which positive socio-economic outcomes can occur during the process of fisheries adjustments. We do this by conducting a desk top review and supplementing the literature with targeted interviews with experts who have direct knowledge or experience with the implementation of buybacks. We focus on four case studies: Australia, the United States, British Columbia (Canada), and Norway. The outcome of each buyback was assessed in terms of the extent to which it achieved its capacity, economic, ecological, and social objectives. Our results indicate that buybacks can be successful in achieving specific programme objectives, such as reducing fishing capacity and increasing economic profits, at least in the short term. However, none of the buybacks evaluated were a resounding success due to the presence of latent permits or licences, effort creep, and continued reinvestment in the fishery. Enabling conditions for positive social outcomes included a strong economy, accountable leadership, and social assistance programmes tailored to local fishing communities. This study is useful in informing future buyback programmes’ design and implementation.

Impact of high seas closure on food security in low income fish dependent countries.

We investigate how high seas closure will affect the availability of commonly consumed food fish in 46 fish reliant, and/or low income countries. Domestic consumption of straddling fish species (fish that would be affected by high seas closure) occurred in 54% of the assessed countries. The majority (70%) of countries were projected to experience net catch gains following high seas closure. However, countries with projected catch gains and that also consumed the straddling fish species domestically made up only 37% of the assessed countries. In contrast, much fewer countries (25%) were projected to incur net losses from high seas closure, and of these, straddling species were used domestically in less than half (45%) of the countries. Our findings suggest that, given the current consumption patterns of straddling species, high seas closure may only directly benefit the supply of domestically consumed food fish in a small number of fish reliant and/or low income countries.

Scenarios for investigating the future of Canada’s oceans and marine fisheries under environmental and socioeconomic change.

There is a critical need to develop effective strategies for the long-term sustainability of Canada’s oceans. However, this is challenged by uncertainty over future impacts of global environmental and socioeconomic change on marine ecosystems, and how coastal communities will respond to these changes. Scenario analysis can address this uncertainty by exploring alternative futures for Canadian oceans under different pathways of climate change, economic development, social and policy changes. However, there has, to date, been no scenario analysis of Canada’s future ocean sustainability at a national scale. To facilitate this process, we review whether the literature on existing scenarios of Canada’s fisheries and marine ecosystems provides an integrative, social-ecological perspective about potential future conditions. Overall, there is sufficient national-level oceanographic data and application of ecosystem, biophysical, and socioeconomic models to generate projections of future ocean and socioeconomic trends in Canada. However, we find that the majority of marine-related scenario analyses in Canada focus on climate scenarios and the associated oceanographic and ecological changes. There is a gap in the incorporation of social, economic, and governance drivers in scenarios, as well as a lack of scenarios which consider the economic and social impact of future change. Moreover, available marine scenario studies mostly do not cover all three Canadian oceans simultaneously. To address these gaps, we propose to develop national-level scenarios using a matrix framework following the concept of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, which would allow a social-ecological examination of Canada’s oceans in terms of the state of future uncertainties.

Scenarios for investigating the future of Canada’s oceans and marine fisheries under environmental and socioeconomic change.

There is a critical need to develop effective strategies for the long-term sustainability of Canada’s oceans. However, this is challenged by uncertainty over future impacts of global environmental and socioeconomic change on marine ecosystems, and how coastal communities will respond to these changes. Scenario analysis can address this uncertainty by exploring alternative futures for Canadian oceans under different pathways of climate change, economic development, social and policy changes. However, there has, to date, been no scenario analysis of Canada’s future ocean sustainability at a national scale. To facilitate this process, we review whether the literature on existing scenarios of Canada’s fisheries and marine ecosystems provides an integrative, social-ecological perspective about potential future conditions. Overall, there is sufficient national-level oceanographic data and application of ecosystem, biophysical, and socioeconomic models to generate projections of future ocean and socioeconomic trends in Canada. However, we find that the majority of marine-related scenario analyses in Canada focus on climate scenarios and the associated oceanographic and ecological changes. There is a gap in the incorporation of social, economic, and governance drivers in scenarios, as well as a lack of scenarios which consider the economic and social impact of future change. Moreover, available marine scenario studies mostly do not cover all three Canadian oceans simultaneously. To address these gaps, we propose to develop national-level scenarios using a matrix framework following the concept of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, which would allow a social-ecological examination of Canada’s oceans in terms of the state of future uncertainties.

What is at stake? Status and threats to South China Sea marine fisheries.

Governance of South China Sea (SCS) fisheries remains weak despite acknowledgement of their widespread overexploitation for the past few decades. This review incorporates unreported fish catches to provide an improved baseline of the current status and societal contribution of SCS marine fisheries, so that the socio-economic and ecological consequences of continued fisheries unsustainability may be understood. Potential fisheries contribution to food and livelihoods include 11-17 million t in fisheries catch and USD 12-22 × 109in fisheries landed value annually in the 2000s, and close to 3 million jobs. However, overfishing has resulted in biodiversity and habitat loss, and altered ecosystem trophic structures to a ‘fished down’ state. The present situation reiterates the urgency for fisheries policies that simultaneously address multiple political, social, economic, and biological dimensions at regional, national, and local scales. Importantly, improved cooperation between SCS nations, particularly in overcoming territorial disputes, is essential for effective regional fisheries governance.

Transform high seas management to build climate resilience in marine seafood supply.

Climate change is projected to redistribute fisheries resources, resulting in tropical regions suffering decreases in seafood production. While sustainably managing marine ecosystems contributes to building climate resilience, these solutions require transformation of ocean governance. Recent studies and international initiatives suggest that conserving high seas biodiversity and fish stocks will have ecological and economic benefits; however, implications for seafood security under climate change have not been examined. Here, we apply global-scale mechanistic species distribution models to 30 major straddling fish stocks to show that transforming high seas fisheries governance could increase resilience to climate change impacts. By closing the high seas to fishing or cooperatively managing its fisheries, we project that catches in exclusive economic zones (EEZs) would likely increase by around 10% by 2050 relative to 2000 under climate change (representative concentration pathway 4.5 and 8.5), compensating for the expected losses (around −6%) from ‘business-as-usual’. Specifically, high seas closure increases the resilience of fish stocks, as indicated by a mean species abundance index, by 30% in EEZs. We suggest that improving high seas fisheries governance would increase the resilience of coastal countries to climate change.

Towards an integrated database on Canadian ocean resources: benefits, current states, and research gaps.

Oceanic ecosystem services support a range of human benefits and Canada has extensive research networks producing growing datasets. We present a first effort to compile, link and harmonize available information to provide new perspectives on the status of Canadian ocean ecosystems and corresponding research. The metadata database currently includes 1,094 individual assessments and datasets from government (n=716), non-government (n=320), and academic sources (n=58), comprising research on marine species, natural drivers and resources, human activities, ecosystem services, and governance, with datasets spanning from 1979-2012 on average. Overall, research shows a strong prevalence towards single-species fishery studies, with an underrepresentation of economic and social aspects, and of the Arctic region in general. Nevertheless, the number of studies that are multi-species or ecosystem-based have increased since the 1960s. We present and discuss two illustrative case studies—marine protected area establishment in Canada, and herring resource use by the Heiltsuk First Nation—highlighting the use of multi-disciplinary datasets drawn from metadata records. Identifying knowledge gaps is key to achieving the comprehensive, accessible and interdisciplinary datasets and subsequent analyses necessary for new sustainability policies that meet both ecological and socioeconomic needs.

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