Is stock enhancement the best option to manage fisheries? A case study from Taiarapu (French Polynesia)

Abstract : Stock enhancements are commonly advocated as a solution to declining fish populations. They consist of re- leasing hatchery individuals in the wild, to increase stock abundance and provide socio-economic benefits. Some argue that stock enhancement science focusses too narrowly on technical and economic aspects, with insufficient investigations of the social impacts (positive and negative) on local communities. The present study investigated the potential impacts the planned Marava (Siganus argenteus) stock enhancement could have on local fishers from Taiarapu (French Polynesia). Ninety-six local fishers were interviewed, using semi-structured questionnaires, to gather information on the data-poor coastal fishery, the importance of Marava as a target species, and the fishers’ perceptions of stock enhancement and of the fisheries management regime. Fishers reported overall finfish abundance to have declined and attributed this mainly to overfishing caused by the growing number of fishers, undersized fish being caught, and pollution. Results suggested that wild Marava was insignificant within this coastal fishery, as it was rarely caught. Although 90.6% of the interviewees approved of enhancing Marava stocks, this intervention was thought unlikely to enhance fishers’ livelihoods through mitigating overharvesting (particularly due to certain fishing practices including night spearfishing and harvesting juveniles). Our results also showed that coastal fishers were more concerned with inequalities between different stakeholders of the fishery, especially offshore fishers, under the current management regime than the state of the fishery and suggest that the local fisheries agency should attempt to address these existing inequalities before engaging in stock enhancement.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 4:41:11 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 1:38:27 AM

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Marguerite Taiarui, Simon Foale, Tamatoa Bambridge, Marcus Sheaves. Is stock enhancement the best option to manage fisheries? A case study from Taiarapu (French Polynesia). Marine Policy, Elsevier, 2019, 104, pp.1-11. ⟨10.1016/j.marpol.2019.02.026⟩. ⟨hal-02147466⟩

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