A broad range of extreme events can affect fisheries catch and hence performance. Using a compiled database of extreme events for all maritime countries in the world between 1950 to 2010, we estimate effects on national fisheries catches, by sector, large‐scale industrial and small scale (artisanal, subsistence and recreational). Contrary to general expectations, fisheries catches respond positively to nearly all forms of extreme events, suggesting a valuable coping or compensation mechanism for coastal communities as they increase their catch after extreme events, but also an opportunistic behaviour by foreign industrial fishing fleets, as industrial catches increase. These effects vary according to country characteristics, with lower coping capacity for coastal communities and higher opportunistic fishing by foreign fleets in countries with poor governance, higher unemployment and direct exposure to prolonged armed conflicts. We also observe an accumulative effect resulting from the aggregation of multiple disasters that deserves further consideration for disaster mitigation. These findings may assist with managing fisheries towards increasing resilience and adaptive capacity such as early detection of potential impacts, protecting livelihoods and food sources, preventing illegal fishing by industrial fleets and informing aid responses towards recovery.
Are coastal communities relevant in fisheries management? Starting from what Svein Jentoft has had to say about the topic, we explore the idea that viable fishing communities require viable fish stocks, and viable fish stocks require viable fishing communities. To elaborate and expand on Jentoft’s arguments, first, we discuss values as a key attribute of communities that confer the ability to manage coastal resources. Turning to power, next we explore why fishing communities need to be empowered by having the opportunity to self-manage or co-manage resources. Third, regarding community viability, we make the argument that (1) rebuilding or maintaining viable fishing communities and fish stocks cannot succeed without first dealing with vulnerabilities, and that (2) the dimensions of vulnerability involve increase/decrease in well-being, better/poorer access to capitals, and building/losing resilience. The idea that healthy fishing communities and healthy fish stocks require one another implies a viable system that contains both, a social-ecological system view. The values embedded in communities enable them to manage resources. Thus, managers and policy makers need to imagine healthy fishing communities who take care of resources, and this positive image of communities is more likely than present policies to lead to viable fishing communities as well as viable fish stocks.
Concerns about the social consequences of conservation have spurred increased attention the monitoring and evaluation of the social impacts of conservation projects. This has resulted in a growing body of research that demonstrates how conservation can produce both positive and negative social, economic, cultural, health, and governance consequences for local communities. Yet, the results of social monitoring efforts are seldom applied to adaptively manage conservation projects.
Because of the complexity and speed of environmental, climatic, and socio-political change in coastal marine social-ecological systems, there is significant academic and applied interest in assessing and fostering the adaptive capacity of coastal communities. Adaptive capacity refers to the latent ability of a system to respond proactively and positively to stressors or opportunities. A variety of qualitative, quantitative, and participatory approaches have been developed and applied to understand and assess adaptive capacity, each with different benefits, drawbacks, insights, and implications. Drawing on case studies of coastal communities from around the globe, we describe and compare 11 approaches that are often used to study adaptive capacity of social and ecological systems in the face of social, environmental, and climatic change.