Human wellbeing is increasingly considered a desired outcome for fisheries management, especially where climate change is impacting the livelihoods, food security, and welfare of residents of communities dependent on fishing. In this paper, a team of researchers used Q methodology (a structured approach for studying human subjectivity) to better understand how fisheries managers and stakeholders engaged in the management process prioritize issues that may affect wellbeing in coastal communities in the California Current social-ecological system. They also explored how the COVID-19 pandemic may have influenced these priorities.
Researchers found that most individuals held one of three shared perspectives:
- Collaboration is Key prioritizes stakeholder engagement and values positive working relationships between groups typically engaged in fisheries management (e.g., conservation organizations, recreational and commercial fishers).
- Fishers Forward prioritizes conditions that support the adaptive capacity of individual fishers and the resilience of the fishing industry. This perspective connects community wellbeing to the sustainability of a traditional fishing lifestyle.
- Climate and Society prioritizes addressing climate change and its impacts on communities. This perspective emphasizes the need to take a system-level approach to wellbeing and believes that tackling these challenges is going to require the inclusion of a more community-oriented approach (versus focusing only on fishers and the industry).
The study reveals a deeper understanding of values held by some managers and how this may influence priorities when making decisions.
Read the full paper here.