Resilience of Small-Scale Fishers to Declining Fisheries in the Gulf of Thailand

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Small-scale fishers depend on fishery resources, which have been declining continuously in Thailand and elsewhere; thus, understanding their perceived ability to adapt to future fishery declines is crucial. This study examines factors affecting perceptions of resilience among small-scale fishers in the Gulf of Thailand. Findings indicate that fishers’ responses to the fishery’s decline are associated with four components of resilience including: ability (1) to get work elsewhere; (2) to compete, survive and adapt more effectively; (3) to increase confidence by planning for financial security and learning new skills; and (4) to cope when there is a change. Perceived resilience of fishers to future fishery decline depends on a combination of several factors. Our results indicate that fishers with more education, those from households that do not depend exclusively on fish for income, younger fishers, those who had been fishing for a shorter time, those with higher levels of individual well-being and basic needs components, and those that would not become a fisherman if they had their lives to live over are more likely to be found in the high resilience group. In addition, fishing communities living in an industrial context (developed urban areas) manifest high levels of competitiveness, survivability and adaptability, which are mainly due to the diverse livelihoods provided in such areas in comparison with non-industrial areas. Equitable benefit sharing among fishing association members could be the concern, likely to impact fishers’ perceived resilience. The paper provides recommendations as to how the findings can aid in design of fishery development and governance programs appropriate to the attitudes, beliefs and values of fishers; hence, increasing the likelihood of their relative success.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Coastal Management