Dr Daw said: "But reduced profitability was certainly not the only deciding factor. Fishers often have an occupational attachment, job satisfaction, family tradition, culture, and a sense of identity, which makes them reluctant to stop fishing even when it would be an economically rational decision."
The research demonstrates the complexity of decision making and how willingness to adapt is influenced by a range of factors.
"We have found that willingness to adapt to change is influenced by characteristics of the individual fishermen, their households, and most importantly, the local conditions where they live and work," said Dr Daw.
"Previous studies have been too small to offer insights into larger scale factors. Undertaking such a large study in multiple countries across a gradient of wealth, has allowed us to compare the importance of these factors at different scales for the first time.
Tim McClanahan from the Wildlife Conservation Society said: "It is important to understand why and when fishers will leave a fishery, as the creation of parks, management restrictions, and ecological disasters require that fishers change or leave their fishing practices.
"One of the unexpected findings was that fishermen in a poor country like Madagascar would leave the fishery sooner than those in wealthier countries such as Seychelles. The reason seems to be that they already have diversified livelihoods, while fishermen in wealthier countries may be locked into this occupation.
"This is contrary to many arguments about the impacts of management and climate change on poor people, so will surprise many people working in this field and on resource and disaster management policies"
|Contact: Lisa Horton|
University of East Anglia