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Mangroves, fisheries and community livelihoods



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Seary, Rachel Claire Orger 


Mangroves are thought to provide vital ecosystem services to coastal fishing communities through the enhancement of fisheries production. Ongoing loss of mangrove extent globally is therefore of societal concern given that communities living near mangroves rely on mangrove-fishing for income and subsistence. Whilst research and conservation efforts have successfully advocated mangrove restoration, and promoted the importance of mangroves in climate mitigation and coastal protection, knowledge of how people use mangroves for fishing is less well developed (Chapters 1 and 2). To date, most quantitative estimates of the value of the presence of mangroves to fishing have been limited to single fishing sectors, gear types or species groups and therefore fail to capture the full diversity of fishing practices, and thus the true socio-economic benefits of mangrove-fishing. The thesis first develops a definition of what mangrove-fisheries can encompass. A case study which investigated the fishing activities associated with mangroves through interviews with fishers was conducted in the Perancak Estuary, Bali, Indonesia. A framework based on this case study was developed as a flexible tool for identifying the characteristics of a mangrove-fishery in a local context (Chapter 3). Using this framework, Chapter 4 measured the all-encompassing value of mangrove benefits to fishing in the Peam Krasaop Fishing Community (PKFC), Koh Kong Province, southwest Cambodia. The ecosystem service value of mangroves for fishing to households in the PKFC was arrived at using daily landings volumes and market values provided through interview surveys with fishers. Both chapters highlight the highly diverse nature of mangrove-fisheries. To what extent are the benefits of mangrove purely local phenomena or are these benefits reflected in global catch datasets? Chapter 5 investigates the spatial relationships between mangrove extent and fisheries catches at the global scale. For the period 2000-2012, small-scale (artisanal and subsistence) catch data, from the Sea Around Us fisheries catch database, was matched against high resolution mangrove extent maps from the Global Database of Continuous Mangrove Forest Cover for the 21st Century revealing that contrary to much of the previous literature, variation in mangrove-associated species catches is better explained by proximity to the mangrove than by mangrove area. Finally, Chapter 6 considers how new and emergent technologies, such as real-time vessel tracking, are likely to improve our ability to estimate mangrove-fishery value, assesses the potential of restored mangroves in providing ecosystem services, and reflects on how communities will need to respond to pressures on mangrove-fishery livelihoods from global environmental change.





Spencer, Tom
Bithell, Mike
McOwen, Chris


Mangrove, Fishery, Ecosystem services, Communities


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
This PhD was funded by the Nippon Foundation Nereus Program.