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University of East Anglia research reveals why fishermen keep fishing despite dwindling catches
Date:2/14/2012

Half of fishermen would not give up their livelihood in the face of drastically declining catches according to research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

A new report, published today by PLoS ONE, challenges previously held notions about poverty and adaptation by investigating why fishermen in developing countries stick with their trade.

Lead author Dr Tim Daw from UEA's School of International Development and the Stockholm Resilience Centre said: "We found that half of fishermen questioned would not be tempted to seek out a new livelihood even if their catch declined by 50 per cent. But the reasons they cling on to their jobs are influenced by much more than simple profitability."

Fisheries are challenged by the combined effects of overfishing, climate change, deteriorating ecosystems and conservation policies. Understanding how fishermen respond to these changes is critical to managing fisheries.

The research project is the largest of its kind and was undertaken as a joint project with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia.

Researchers surveyed almost 600 fishers across Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar about how they would respond to hypothetical catch declines.

They then investigated how social and economic conditions, such as local culture and socioeconomic development, influenced whether fishermen were willing to give up their trade.

"Surprisingly, fishermen in the more vibrant and developed economies were less likely to give up their trade despite having more economically fruitful opportunities open to them," said co-author Dr Joshua Cinner from the ARC Centre of Excellence for coral reef Studies in Australia.

"This is the reverse of the common belief that poor communities a
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Contact: Lisa Horton
l.horton@uea.ac.uk
44-160-359-3007
University of East Anglia
Source:Eurekalert  

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