Collaborative development of management options for an artisanal fishery for seahorses in the central Philippines

Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication: 2004

Authors: Martin-Smith, KM., Samoilys MA, Meeuwig JJ, Vincent ACJ

Journal: Ocean & Coastal Management

Volume: 47

Issue: 3-4

Pagination: 165 - 193

Date Published: 2004

ISSN: 09645691

Abstract:

Overexploitation and habitat degradation threaten small-scale, artisanal fisheries around the world. Management of these fisheries is often inadequate or absent, partly because they are data poor. We here present the development of management options for such a fishery, using collaborative input from a variety of interested groups. Qualitative and semi-quantitative assessments of seahorse populations in central Philippines suggest that they are overfished. Management objectives focus on rebuilding seahorse stocks, maintaining income for fishers and ensuring long-term persistence of seahorse populations. We developed a list of 11 management options at a workshop of fisheries experts from a variety of backgrounds. We then undertook an iterative process of consultation involving fishers, traders, consumers, conservationists, aquarists, national and international policy groups. The creation of no-take Marine Protected Areas and minimum size limits for seahorses were strongly supported by all groups, emerging as the preferred options. Tenure over marine estate was strongly supported but may prove difficult to implement in the Philippines. Sex-selective fishing (leaving pregnant males) had moderate support across all groups but may be relatively easy to introduce because of fisher acceptance. In collaboration with international efforts to ensure sustainable trade in seahorses we recommend that a minimum size limit of 10 cm height and more no-take Marine Protected Areas be implemented as soon as possible to help restore this seahorse fishery in the Philippines.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2004.02.002

Short Title: Ocean & Coastal Management