Local purse-seine fishers’ economic losses owing to endangered seabird conservation measures – perceptions and reality

By T. Gifford, Amanda T. Lombard, B. Snow, V. Goodall & Lorien Pichegru

“The likelihood of success of a marine protected area (MPA) is strongly dependent on stakeholders’ support. A concern often raised by local fishers is their lack of involvement in the design or management of a MPA and their loss of income owing to lost fishing grounds. We used Algoa Bay, South Africa, as a case study to analyse fisher’s and fish-processing factory managers’ concerns and perceived economic losses from fishing closures using structured interviews. Since 2009, a 20 km-radius purse-seine fishing-exclusion zone has been tested in Algoa Bay to assess the benefit to population recovery of the endangered African penguin Spheniscus demersus. Costs to the industry were estimated in terms of loss of catches and additional travel time to fishing grounds with and without closures.

Fisher responses to interviews revealed general support for conservation and MPAs, but individuals interviewed did not feel that the 20 km fishing exclusion zones in Algoa Bay would aid African penguin conservation. While they systematically raised concerns about potential economic costs to their industry from closures, neither their catch sizes nor travel times varied significantly with fishing exclusion measures. Acknowledgement and assessment of the economic concerns may aid in initiating an informed dialogue amongst the various stakeholders in Algoa Bay, which may increase compliance and success of the newly proclaimed Addo elephant National Park MPA. Continued dialogue may also act as a catalyst for more integrated ocean management of biodiversity and human uses in the bay…”

Artwork: Kenneth Shandu

Related SDGs:

  • Climate action
  • Life below water