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Do fisher associations really represent their members’ needs and opinions? The case study of the octopus fishery in the Algarve (south Portugal)

AuthorsRangel, Mafalda; Pita, Cristina; Oliveira, Manuela Maria de; Guimaraes, Maria Helena; Rainha, Rita; Sonderblohm, Carlos; Monteiro, Pedro; Oliveira, Frederico; Ballesteros, Marta; Gonçalves, Jorge M. S.; Pierce, Graham J.; Erzini, Karim
Participatory processes
Common octopus
Small- scale fishery
Fishing associations
Fisheries management
Issue DateMar-2019
CitationMarine Policy 101: 276-284 (2019)
AbstractFishers’ participation in the fishery management decision-making process is generally low, particularly in small-scale fisheries (SSF). Within the overarching goal of improving fisheries governance, fishers’ participation is crucial. Yet, how can fishers participate in the decision-making processes which affect their actions, and to what extent do fisher associations represent their interests? These questions were tackled by means of an empirical case study in the “Tertúlia do Polvo” project, focusing on the octopus SSF in the Algarve region (south Portugal), where the octopus fishery is managed top-down with sporadic participation of fishers. During the study (2014 and 2015), seven participatory workshops (tertúlias) were held, involving fisher associations, management authorities and researchers, to propose and discuss management measures for the fishery. Also, a face-to-face questionnaire survey (121 valid replies) was undertaken with local fishers to gauge their opinions about the management measures proposed during the workshops. Results show a strong agreement between the outcomes achieved during the workshops and the main concerns and possible solutions identified by fishers. Taking into consideration the difficulty in structuring and assuring a transparent and effective participation of fishers in the management of their activity, the results obtained are promising. In this study, the use of a participatory process (restricted to a small group of stakeholders) combined with consultation (targeting a sample of the fisher population) allowed the validation of the overall results obtained. Such a methodological approach can be tried in other fishing communities to implement efficient and effective collaborative management, contributing to improved fisheries governance.
Description29 pages, 3 figures, 4 tables.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2018.04.011
Appears in Collections:(IIM) Artículos
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