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Assessing the social impacts of changes in fisheries policy: a review of recent Australian experience. Jacki Schirmer Research Fellow School of Resources, Environment and Society - ANU Co-operative Research Centre for Forestry [email protected] Background.

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Assessing the social impacts of changes in fisheries policy: a review of recent Australian experience

Jacki Schirmer

Research Fellow

School of Resources, Environment and Society - ANU

Co-operative Research Centre for Forestry

[email protected]

background
Background
  • Worldwide, many areas are being overfished
  • Marine waters typically managed by governments
  • Fishers are private sector business operators who are granted licence to fish (various permit systems)
  • Governments try to reduce overfishing by:
    • Declaring reserves/protected areas limiting commercial and/or recreational fishing
    • Reducing the number of permits/licences granted to fish
    • Placing conditions on fishing e.g. restrictions on number of lines, nets, type of equipment, number of hours people can fish
recent australian examples
Recent Australian examples…
  • Securing our fishing future, Nov 2005. Fishing licences bought back through a tender process. Aim is to reduce number of operators fishing in some Commonwealth fisheries. Also, Marine Protected Areas declared over some ocean areas. (see http://www.daff.gov.au/fisheries/domestic/fishingfuture).
  • Cod Grounds Commonwealth Marine Reserve. 2007. 300ha marine reserve declared over reef area used by endangered Grey Nurse Sharks. All commercial and recreational fishing banned (http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mpa/cod-grounds/index.html)
  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Protected Area ‘Green Zones’. New areas reserved from fishing in 2004. (e.g. www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/ecita_ctte/estimates/add_0506/eh/md.rtf)
  • Many other examples just within Australia…
where does sia come in
Where does SIA come in?
  • Increasingly, governments are commissioning SIA as part of developing policies which change marine resource access
  • But fisheries have some unique characteristics – specific SIA methods are often needed
  • Key challenges:
    • Identifying fishers
    • Talking to fishers – how to consult and involve
    • Linking changes in the ocean to changes in human communities
    • Many other challenges – but these three are some of the most common when undertaking technical assessment
1 identifying fishers using affected area
1. Identifying fishers using affected area

Two key challenges:

  • ‘Latent’ effort – often only some fishing permits are being used. Who is actually fishing the area?
    • Government catch records
    • Fish receiver records
    • Fisher records (in some cases, electronic tracking device records)
  • What if there are no permits, or permit covers a much larger area than that affected by the proposed change?
    • Surveys conducted at boat launch/landing sites
    • Depending on size of area, direct survey of boats entering the marine area that will be affected (take your boat out)
    • Consultation in local community
    • Ensure surveys/consultation undertaken at relevant times of day, month & year to capture variation in activity due to seasonal differences, holidays etc
2 talking to fishers how to consult and involve
2. Talking to fishers – how to consult and involve

Key issues:

  • Fishers need to fish whenever weather is good, income depends on it
    • E.g. one meeting I held, a fisher gave up around $AUD5,000 of potential fish catch to attend
  • Different fishers fish different times of day, month
  • Some fishers may go out fishing for a few hours; others for up to 50 days on the ocean in a single trip
    • How to get them in same room at same time? Should you even try?
  • How to design a participatory process they can take part in?
2 talking to fishers how to consult and involve cont
2. Talking to fishers – how to consult and involve (cont.)

Approaches to consulting & involving:

  • If you have to have pre-scheduled times for meetings:
    • Set up many meeting times to suit different fishing schedules
    • Remind fishers immediately prior to the meeting – many not used to working on fixed time schedule
  • Use the weather! If possible, don’t pre-schedule meeting times:
    • Wait until weather is too bad for fishing
    • Ring fishers, get them to come out for a meeting then. Fax, phone important tools
  • Don’t schedule any meetings
    • Set up your office from the dock or at the fish receiver – as every fisher finishes unloading catch, they often like to talk
    • Find out what local places fishers frequent, set up office there
    • For large trawlers, possible go out on the boat (although that can mean 20 days at sea…)
  • Ensure you have plenty of time and fit into their work schedules
3 linking changes in the ocean to changes in human communities
3. Linking changes in the ocean to changes in human communities

Issue:

  • A change has been proposed in an area of ocean
  • Fishers can travel long distances, may land catch a long way from where they caught it; may live somewhere else again
  • How to identify spatial flows from marine area to human communities on land:
    • Where do fishers live and spend income?
    • Where are fish landed and processed (flow-on jobs)
3 linking changes in the ocean to changes in human communities1
3. Linking changes in the ocean to changes in human communities

Solutions:

  • Town Resource Cluster analysis - developed by Fenton and Coakes
  • Aim is to trace spatial flows between natural resources and human communities
  • Requires considerable investment in surveying fishers and identifying the spatial location of their activities as well as the volume & type of activity
  • Key example demonstrating approach:
    • Fenton DM and Marshall NA. 2001. A guide to the fishers of Queensland, Part A. CRC Reef Technical Reports 36,37,38. URL: <http://www.reef.crc.org.au/research/fishing_fisheries/commercial.html>
3 linking changes in the ocean to changes in human communities cont
3. Linking changes in the ocean to changes in human communities (cont.)

If resources do not permit full TRC:

  • In surveys, ensure identification of:
    • Proportion of fisher’s activity dependent on the marine area – and how this varies over time
    • Locations where catch is landed (flow-on effects)
    • Where fishers lives & spends income (flow-on effects)
  • This data enables identification of most flows from marine area to human communities
  • Often there are limits to how precisely you can identify flows from an ocean area to human community as:
    • Records don’t allow identification of whether catch was from the specific area of ocean you are interested in
    • Fishers change activity on daily, monthly, yearly basis
    • These limitations must be clearly communicated
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Are there “fisheries-specific” SIA challenges?
    • To an extent – many similar challenges in other types of SIA
  • Are the Australian challenges and solutions presented applicable elsewhere?
    • Your experiences and feedback sought!
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