The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly spread around the world with extensive social and economic effects. This editorial focuses specifically on the implications of the pandemic for small-scale fishers, including marketing and processing aspects of the sector, and coastal fishing communities, drawing from news and reports from around the world. Negative consequences to date have included complete shut-downs of some fisheries, knock-on economic effects from market disruptions, increased health risks for fishers, processors and communities, additional implications for marginalized groups, exacerbated vulnerabilities to other social and environmental stressors, and increased Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.
The immense challenges associated with realizing ocean and coastal sustainability require highly skilled interdisciplinary marine scientists. However, the barriers experienced by early career researchers (ECRs) seeking to address these challenges, and the support required to overcome those barriers, are not well understood.
The global rush to develop the ‘blue economy’ risks harming both the marine environment and human wellbeing. Bold policies and actions are urgently needed. We identify five priorities to chart a course towards an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable blue economy.
Rural and resource-based coastal communities in British Columbia (BC) are facing a number of pressing challenges that are affecting the holistic health and well-being of local people. The challenges facing coastal communities include being disconnected from decision-making process, a changing climate, rapidly evolving ecosystems, increasing pollution, declining investment, loss of community infrastructure, increasing competition over […]
Marine protected areas are advocated as a key strategy for simultaneously protecting marine biodiversity and supporting coastal livelihoods, but their implementation can be challenging for numerous reasons, including perceived negative effects on human well-being.
Local support is important for the longevity of conservation initiatives. The literature suggests that perceptions of ecological effectiveness, social impacts, and good governance will influence levels of local support for conservation. This paper examines these relationships using data from a survey of small‐scale fishermen in 11 marine protected areas from six countries in the Mediterranean Sea. The survey queried small‐scale fishermen regarding perceptions and support for conservation. We constructed composite scores for three categories of perceptions—ecological effectiveness, social impacts, and good governance—and tested the relationship with levels of support using ordinal regression models. While all three factors were positively correlated with support for conservation, perceptions of good governance and social impacts were stronger predictors of increasing support. These findings suggest that employing good governance processes and managing social impacts may be more important than ecological effectiveness for maintaining local support for conservation.
Analysis that link hydrological processes with oceanographic dispersion offer a promising approach for assessing impacts of land-based activities on marine ecosystems. However, such an analysis has not yet been customised to quantify specific pressures from mining activities on marine biodiversity including those from spillages resulting from tailing dam failure. Here, using a Brazilian catchment in which a tailing dam collapsed (Doce river) as a case study, we provide a modelling approach to assess the impacts on key ecosystems and marine protected areas subjected to two exposure regimes: (i) a pulse disturbance event for the period 2015–2016, following the immediate release of sediments after dam burst, which witnessed an average increase of 88% in sediment exports; and (ii) a press disturbance phase for the period 2017–2029, when impacts are sustained over time by sediments along the river’s course. We integrated four components into impact assessments: hydrological modelling, coastal-circulation modelling, ecosystem mapping, and biological sensitivities. The results showed that pulse disturbance causes sharp increases in the amount of sediments entering the coastal area, exposing key sensitive ecosystems to pollution (e.g. rhodolith beds), highlighting an urgent need for developing restoration strategies for these areas. The intensity of impacts will diminish over time but the total area of sensitive ecosystems at risk are predicted to be enlarged. We determined monitoring and restoration priorities by evaluating and comparing the extent to which sensitive ecosystems within marine protected areas were exposed to disturbances. The information obtained in this study will allow the optimization of recovery efforts in the marine area affected, and valuation of ecosystem services lost.
Ongoing international negotiations on capacity enhancing fisheries subsidies may soon eliminate harmful subsidies. Although their negative ecosystem impacts are well known, their social dimensions are less understood. This paper investigates the distributional and equity dimensions of fisheries subsidies in two developing countries, Senegal and Vietnam, to understand how their provision or removal may affect different population groups. Using the limited data available, we paid specific attention to women and youth, who are especially vulnerable in these contexts. We recommend further study to understand the implications of reform on other vulnerable groups, such as indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities.
The reintroduction of a previously extirpated predator can engender conflict when the reintroduced species depletes customary fisheries to which indigenous communities have constitutionally protected rights. In the case of sea otter (Enhydra lutris) recovery on the west coast of North America, not only is Canada’s Species at Risk Act in conflict with Indigenous rights, but it also illuminates gaps in the principles of ecosystem-based management (EBM), such as equity and social justice. Broadly, we ask in this paper how EBM might be advanced if Indigenous communities were viewed as components of ecosystems having rights to a sustainable future equal to other components. Specifically, we explore evidence of sea otter management among precontact Northwest Coast societies and a contemporary co-managed system proposed by the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations that would combine research with refinement of traditional hunting practices. We show that barriers persist through lack of knowledge of past controlled hunts, ignorance of recent experiences of successful community-based clam management, distrust of Indigenous capacity to self-manage or co-manage a hunt, and divergent values among actors.
Coastal communities, indigenous peoples, and small-scale fishers rely on the ocean for livelihoods, for subsistence, for wellbeing and for cultural continuity. Thus, understanding the human dimensions of the world’s peopled seas and coasts is fundamental to evidence-based decision-making across marine policy realms, including marine conservation, marine spatial planning, fisheries management, the blue economy and climate adaptation. This perspective article contends that the marine social sciences must inform the pursuit of sustainable oceans. To this end, the article introduces this burgeoning field and briefly reviews the insights that social science can offer to guide ocean and coastal policy and management. The upcoming United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030) provides a tremendous opportunity to build on the current interest, need for and momentum in the marine social sciences. We will be missing the boat if the marine social sciences do not form an integral and substantial part of the mandate and investments of this global ocean science for sustainability initiative.