Integrating human and environmental dimensions for sustainable fisheries

Project Status: 

Project outline and objectives

Fisheries are often more than a business – they are a connection to the sea, a livelihood and part of a wider social fabric. 

However, existing fishing rules often are not able to account for the myriad of interactions happening below and above the sea…. The complexity of ecological interactions, external drivers, local socio-economic issues and institutional constraints.

This project will develop and test ways of integrating these human dimensions with our existing fishing management models.  Firstly, the project evaluates existing fisheries decision support tools for their ability to account for environmental, social, economic and institutional [sustainability] objectives. Using Australian Rock Lobster fisheries as a case study, the outputs of different decision support tools will be assessed, providing a comparative analysis of the strengths and weakness of each tool in reporting the described objectives of the fishery. This project will focus on collecting appropriate social data from fishers and community members on social objectives, relationships, motivations, capacities and capabilities relating to participation and persistence in the fishing industry. This data will be combined with scientific, economic and institutional factors in order to produce holistic management scenarios whereby management policies can be evaluated against multiple outcomes.

Finding ways to better integrate the ‘human’ with the ‘environmental’ will not only help managers and policy makers to make more transparent, equitable and fair decisions, it will also help fishers and other community members to become an integral part of the decision making process by making their long-term needs a factor in the decision.

University of TasmaniaInstitute of Marine and Antarctic StudiesCSIRO Department of the EnvironmentGEOS
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