The use of recreational fishers’ ecological knowledge to assess the conservation status of marine ecosystems

Pita, Pablo, Antelo, Manel, Hyder, Kieran ORCID:, Vingada, José and Villasante, Sebastián (2020) The use of recreational fishers’ ecological knowledge to assess the conservation status of marine ecosystems. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7. ISSN 2296-7745

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There is a reluctance to incorporate Fishers’ Ecological Knowledge (FEK) into the evidence base used to underpin marine management decisions. FEK has proved to be useful as an alternative reference of biological changes in data-poor scenarios. Yet, recreational fisher knowledge has rarely been included in scientific studies despite being a source of FEK. Here, the use of recreational FEK to assess the conservation status of marine ecosystems in Galicia (NW Spain) was evaluated. Galicia has a highly complex marine socioecological system that includes both a large global commercial fleet and a powerful recreational sector, alongside other important stakeholders (e.g., tourism, aquaculture). Anglers and spear fishers were asked to provide their perceptions of the conservation status of fish stocks and the impacts on marine ecosystems. Face-to-face interviews were transcribed into text and analyzed using text mining tools. Key concepts were used to quantify fishers’ perceptions of changes in their target fish stocks and quantify the main impacts on marine ecosystems. Overfishing and habitat loss, followed by reduction in biodiversity, pollution, and warming temperatures were considered to be the main drivers of the poor status of cephalopods and finfish stocks. Perceived temporal declines in fish stocks were consistent with available biological data, highlighting the potential for recreational FEK to be used to assess long-term ecological changes. It was important to seek opinions from different users, including fishers from traditional commercial and recreational fisheries, as these groups had good knowledge of the impacts on natural and cultural community heritage. The poor status of ballan wrasse (Labrus bergylta) and kelp beds was identified, which was of concern due to it being a key species in coastal ecosystems. Use of FEK is a good approach to develop knowledge of these systems, but broader monitoring programs are needed to protect the future of these ecosystems.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This work was funded by the Xunta de Galicia (RECREGES I and II projects under Grants ED481B2014/034-0 and ED481B2018/017), and Fundación Biodiversidad, Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica, Gobierno de España (SICORE project). SV acknowledges the financial support of the European COST Action “Ocean Governance for Sustainability—challenges, options and the role of science,” the ICES Science Fund Project “Social Transformations of Marine Social-Ecological Systems,” and the CYTED program for the ECOMAR Network.
Uncontrolled Keywords: ecological knowledge,fisheries science,long-term trends,perceptions,recreational fisheries,shifting baselines,stock assessment,oceanography,global and planetary change,aquatic science,water science and technology,environmental science (miscellaneous),ocean engineering,sdg 14 - life below water ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1900/1910
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2023 03:22
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2023 03:00
DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00242

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