Task 5.4: The Social and Economic Impacts of Recovery Plans and their Implications

Description of work

This Task of WP 5 examines the social and economic impacts of recovery plans from both a predictive and an empirical perspective.  Phase  Part 1 uses bio-economic model building to predict responses of fishers to aspects of the plans and the implications of these responses for the resource. Part 2 evaluates the social and economic impacts of implemented recovery plans on specific  fishing communities where recovery plans have taken place.   Finally, Part 3 synthesizes parts 1 and 2.

Part  1: The application of bio-economic and compliance theory to three case studies

Within each case study, this task involves four investigations:

  1. analysing the processes linking management regulations and short-term fisher's decisions (e.g., compliance, effort allocation, discarding);
  2. analysing the processes linking management regulations and long-term fisher's decisions (e.g., investment, decommissioning);
  3. analysing the processes linking fisher's behaviour and fishing mortality; and
  4. incorporation of 1-3 into a bio-economic module and to analyse the sensitivity of the effectiveness of regulations to fisher's decisions. 

Methodology for these investigations is as follows:
Investigations 1 & 2.  The TECTAC project  analysed and modelled the processes linking fisheries profit, fleet dynamics and management decisions.  This included, (i) quantifying the processes linking management measures, fleet dynamics (short- to long-term) and profit (economic indicators) and, (ii) modelling the economic consequences of management measures on fleet dynamics/profit.    Application to recovery plan cases will be based on this work.
Investigation 3.  The TECTAC project also (i) identified indicators of fishing tactics/strategies and of technological development that best characterize fishing effort, (ii) evaluated the extent to which adjusting fishing effort using these indicators could improve the relationship between fishing effort and fishing mortality and, (iii) modelled the effect of effort-based management on fishing mortality.  Two aspects can be developed in relation to recovery plan cases.  First, the impact of alternative recovery plans on fishing mortality can be evaluated.  Second, the sensitivity of the F vs. E relationship to, (i) the various assumptions underlying F estimates and, (ii) the way F is partitioned into fleets, vessels, fishing trips, and/or fishing areas can be assessed.
Investigation 4. IFREMER has developed a modelling tool of fishery dynamics, ISIS-Fish. Spatially and seasonally explicit, which aims at predicting the impact of management decisions.  Isis-Fish takes fisher's reaction explicitly into account. Within TECTAC, a bio-economical module has been added into ISIS-Fish to consider economic fleet dynamics (short- and long-term) using economic indicators to allocate fishing effort. A methodology based on statistical simulation designs has been developed to quantify the sensitivity of the model to parameters and then to evaluate the impact of management regulations. Using ISIS-Fish, this methodology can be used to quantify the sensitivity of effectiveness of management regulations to fisher's reactions within recovery plan case studies.

Part  2: Social Impact Assessments of three existing European recovery plans

A social impact assessment (SIA) is a well established set of methodologies for the systematic appraisal of the impacts on the day-to-day quality of life of persons and communities whose environment is affected by policy changes, such as fisheries management recovery plans. The social impacts refer to changes to individuals and communities due to alterations in the day-to-day way in which people live, work, relate to one another, organize to meet their needs, and generally cope as members of a fisheries society.  Social impact assessment provides an appraisal of possible social ramifications and suggestions for management alternatives and possible mitigation measures.
Cultural and social rationales often trump purely economic ones when it comes to assessing fishers' behaviour in the face of restrictions.  Consequently, being aware, whether there are alternative stocks which can be harvested, if a family is fifth generation fishing in the community, or even whether there are alternative employment options in the community will play a role in how the recovery plan affects the individuals and communities in question.  Gaining such information enables a more precise understanding of the reasons for the success or failure of  the recovery plan to have the desired effect on the stock in question. 
For this study, social impacts will be investigated in two communities per recovery plan over a twelve month period for each plan.  The period will including scoping to find suitable sites, and the assessment of the fishing management plan impacts on the communities.  The assessments will use qualitative social science research methods, including semi-structured individual and group interviews.  In order to properly assess the extent of the impact of the fishery recovery plan on the communities, the assessment will focus on the variables of population characteristics, community and institutional structure, political and social resources, individual and family factors, and community resources.  Each of these variables focuses the investigation on how the recovery plan affects the fishing communities.

Part 3: Describing Compliance and Legitimacy Expectations

The final part of Task 5.4 synthesizes the first two parts of the task while simultaneously drawing on the lessons found in the review of existing recovery plans. By extrapolating from both the quantitative and predictive results of Task 5.4. 1 and the descriptive and retrospective analyses in Task 5.4.3 the expected reactions of the interested public (various kinds of fishermen, fishing-related industries, fishing community leaders and conservation interests) to the different kinds of options available in recovery plans will be assessed. This will aid us in WP 6 in choosing strategy options that will be the most effective in terms of compliance and cooperation. This will be used as the basis of a report to be submitted to WP 6.

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