Step zero for marine conservation: driving factors of voluntary fishery closures in Newfoundland and Labrador

Olson, Kim (2011) Step zero for marine conservation: driving factors of voluntary fishery closures in Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Fishery closures are a form of conservation measure employed to protect fish stocks, a key resource for many coastal communities. Due to the social and economic importance of fisheries, there are challenges associated with limiting access to marine resources. Nonetheless, fishery closures are gaining popularity in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly as voluntary initiatives. Voluntary fishery closures take shape as community-based conservation initiatives driven by fish harvesters and further include the fish harvesters’ union and the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans in their implementation and monitoring. -- Not all closures discussed are implemented, and not all implemented closures are successful in meeting their conservation objectives. Research on closures has focused primarily on outcomes or compliance, often excluding the steps, processes, and interactions that either lead to or inhibit their implementation. This thesis argues that knowing how a closure is conceived, discussed and communicated, as well as what the state of the fisheries system is prior to its implementation help explain why they succeed of rail. This can further our understanding of the role of voluntary closures in fisheries management and the factors that generate their support of opposition. Knowledge of what drives voluntary closures can further provide insight on what factors need to be in place for fish harvesters to support or be engaged in fisheries conservation. -- Research for this thesis was conducted in the Bay of Islands, Western Newfoundland, where a voluntary snow crab closure was discussed among inshore crab harvesters in the spring of 2010, but was not implemented. Thirty semi-structured interviews with fish harvesters, the fish harvesters union, fishery managers, scientists, and other community members were conducted to examine the step zero of fishery closure discussions in the area, i.e. the drivers, steps, processes and interactions leading to the closure discussions. Questions explored the motivation, initiators, support, opposition, and expectations for a voluntary closure in the area. Furthermore, interviews sought information on each component of the fish chain (marine environment, harvest, processing and marketing) to enhance the aforementioned ‘step zero’ understanding. -- Interviews illustrated that the initiative was influenced first and foremost by declining crab stocks, and was also driven by an existing closure in the nearby area, as well as low prices of snow crab. The closure was further conceivable because of a low economic reliance on the crab fishery in that area. While concerns about the stock were shared, stakeholder’s support for the closure varied, as did their expectations of the closure and their roles in marine conservation. It is clear through this study that the crab stocks in the Bay of Islands are depleting and require attention; however closure discussions did not fully address the needs and concerns raised by all harvesters in the area. Until these issues are addressed a consensus among crab harvesters to close the fishery is unlikely, as a result it is improbable that a voluntary crab closure will be implemented.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11171
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 112-117).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: 2011
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Fishery closures--Newfoundland and Labrador--Decision making; Fishes--Conservation--Newfoundland and Labrador--Decision making; Marine resources conservation--Newfoundland and Labrador --Psychological aspects.

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