A case study from the southern Cape linefishery 2: Considering one's options when the fish leave

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Fishers in the small-scale, commercial linefishery in the southern Cape, South Africa, are exposed to variability and change in the marine social-ecological system of which they are a part. Faced with multi-scalar changes within this complex system, fishers employ a wide range of strategies in reaction to change. As part of a broader study of stressors that bring about change in these systems, this contribution examines the fishers' responses to these changes and is based on a participant-led, semistructured interview process of skippers/boat owners, crew, processors and spouses/partners, in six communities in the southern Cape region, and has been supplemented with appropriate secondary data. The results are discussed using a resilience framework. The data were initially considered thematically by stressor, but results identified that a place-based analysis was equally important. Three major groupings were identified: (1) fishers who adapt and show clear business-orientation, (2) fishers who cope, and (3) fishers who react and are thus caught in a poverty trap. In addition to place-specific history, local feedback loops and indirect effects need to be better accounted for to understand these responses to change at various scales. The results of this study are expected to contribute to the basis of scenario planning in the region.




Gammage, L. C., Jarre, A., & Mather, C. (2017). A case study from the southern Cape linefishery 2: Considering one’s options when the fish leave. South African Journal of Science, 113(5–6). https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2017/20160254

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