Written by Nereus Research Associate Ryan Swanson,
Nereus Program Manager and Research Associate Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor (University of British Columbia) is a co-author on the recently published article ‘Managing at Maximum Sustainable Yield does not ensure economic well-being for artisanal fishers‘ in Fish and Fisheries. Their study investigated artisanal fisheries in 11 subregions along the Gulf of California in Mexico and found that 90% of them reported earnings below the rural Economic Well-Being Limit (EWL) of $351 per month, putting them below the poverty level. If fisheries in the overall region were managed and fished at MSY, only 20% of the subregions would be able to earn enough to be above the rural EWL. The current average net revenue for fishers in the region is $190 per month, at 46% below the rural EWL of $351, and all subregions earned less than the urban EWL of $555 per month. The authors discuss a combination of too many fishing vessels and dissipation of rents as preventing artisanal fishers from escaping poverty, but reducing the number of fishers may result in a loss of access for those who depend entirely on fishing for their livelihood, especially in coastal communities with few or no alternatives to earn a living. Therefore, the authors do not suggest reducing the number of fishing vessels as the sole solution, but recognize that overcapacity needs to be discussed when moving forward and addressing the long-term sustainability and economic viability of artisanal fishing. You can read a longer summary in ScienceDaily here.