Alternative Livelihoods (1:47)
Eloy Cuevas of Belize talks about different strategies to engage and support the fishing community.
In many instances, local communities own the FSAs and have entitlement to fish them. Fishers generally learn about these areas through traditional knowledge passed down through generations. Any regulations affecting these sites will also directly affect these fishers, and conservation efforts will work only if they are community driven.
Whenever possible, fishers should be involved in all activities leading to FSA management. This will ensure that:
- Fishers' knowledge of the site's history and dynamics are included in the research and planning for the site.
- Managers develop an understanding of fisher's special needs and dependency on the resource.
- Managers develop actions that minimize the impact of protection measures on the culture and livelihood of local communities, and that fishers are offered economic alternatives, where feasible.
- Fishers are included in research and monitoring that lead to management actions.
- Fishers participate in development of legislation, lobby for protection and support the long-term management of the site.
- Fishers are involved in monitoring and enforcement (as rangers or guards) after legislation is passed.
Communication links to traditional users must be maintained as management and conservation measures are contemplated. It has been repeatedly shown that conservation and management actions have been more successful when local fishers are part of the process. By working with fishers in Belize, for example, scientists and managers have been able to collect data more efficiently, and have garnered critical support from the fishing community to achieve broad management objectives.
Communication links to traditional users must be maintained, as management and conservation measures are contemplated.1