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Title: Social and environmental drivers of fishers' spatial behaviour in the Northumberland lobster fishery
Authors: Turner, Rachel A.
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The current trend towards marine spatial planning (MSP) worldwide impacts marine resource users, particularly in inshore fisheries. Understanding the spatial distribution of fishing activity and complex drivers of human behaviour may help elucidate and predict responses of fishers to changes in management. This thesis characterises fishers’ spatial behaviour and decision-making in the lobster (Homarus gammarus) fishery in Northumberland (UK). Information on the distribution of UK inshore fisheries activity is scarce, but arguably is critical to the success of future MSP and fisheries management. Chapter 2 develops a methodology using GIS to quantitatively compare the spatial coincidence of fishing effort distribution based on two different data sources. A statistically significant similarity is demonstrated between patterns of fishing activity indicated by observational and interview data. Spatial variability in lobster landings and inferred catch rates among fishing ports is examined in Chapter 3 using linear mixed effects models. A negative relationship was identified between measures of fishing intensity and landings at port level, yet this variability in landings is minimal compared to that among individual vessels, the causes of which are discussed. Based on quantitative and qualitative data collected through interviews with fishers, Chapters 4 and 5 investigate how the social context influences fishers’ decision-making and behaviour. Chapter 4 considers fishers’ perceptions in prioritising factors driving spatial decision-making. The findings are examined in light of evidence for territorial behaviour and discussed using theories of economic defendability and collective action. Social network analysis is applied in Chapter 5 to uncover information-sharing behaviour among fishers. Results highlight differences in network structure among ports, demonstrate a relationship between fishers’ position in information-sharing networks and their fishing success, and point towards the existence of social-spatial groups in fishing behaviour at sea. This thesis identifies inter-related factors driving decision-making, suggesting that an understanding of the social context shaping fishers’ spatial behaviour is important for developing appropriate management measures. Taking account of a fishery’s environmental and social characteristics is recommended for predicting fishers’ responses to changes in them.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Marine Science and Technology

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