Scientific and Fisher’s Knowledge-Based Ecological Risk Assessment: Combining Approaches to Determine the Vulnerability of Fisheries Stocks

Small-scale fishing is a multi-gear activity that focuses on a wide range of species. As there is a considerable diversity of species, it is often difficult to keep track of all of those that are caught, and due to the lack of data or poor quality, most stock statuses are currently unknown around the world. Therefore, local ecological knowledge provided by fishers has been regarded as a valuable source of information to bridge these crucial gaps. This study assesses the vulnerability status of 22 fishing stocks in the Azores, through productivity and susceptibility analyses (PSAs) using two independent data sources: conventional scientific knowledge and fishers’ knowledge data. We created four PSAs with separate and integrated data sources. Although we found some differences in the vulnerability scores and rankings, the risk outputs of the PSAs using independent and integrated sources of data generally match, reflecting a similar pattern trend. The findings of this work suggest that integrating FK may be an alternative to provide good fisheries’ assessment outcomes in the absence of CSK. Overall, this research supports the inclusion of fishers’ knowledge in vulnerability assessments as not only beneficial in the absence of data, but also as a supplement to data that can improve management advice.
Funding Information
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (MAR-01.03.02-FEAMP-0039)
  • FCT PhD fellowship (UI/BD/153596/2022)

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