Fishers’ willingness to report incidental bycatches of endangered, threatened and protected fish species: The case of European sturgeon in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean

Niels W.P. Brevé*, Kateryna Urbanovych, Tinka J. Murk, Paul van Zwieten, Leopold A.J. Nagelkerke, Marloes Kraan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Incidental fisheries bycatch contributes to the dire situation of endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species. Few published estimates of the severity of fisheries impacts exist as incidental bycatch is difficult to monitor, and reporting can be a sensitive matter for fishers. This paper addresses these sensitivities, the reasons for non-reporting, and possible solutions, using bycatch of the critically endangered European sturgeon (Acipenser sturio L.) in the Northeast Atlantic fisheries as a case study. This study comprises 36 interviews with fishers, fisher representatives, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), researchers, and governments involved in European sturgeon conservation from four countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Fishers experience difficult economic circumstances, while fear of restrictions in their fishing area and gear makes them reluctant to report such rare bycatch. Adequate management of the European sturgeon and other marine ETP species is worsened by a lack of governmental coordination, and trust issues fuelled by some NGOs’ communication strategies using iconic species to lobby for fishing restrictions. This paper discusses solutions to strengthen fishers’ cooperation in ETP species research. This would need to include developing a shared vision, clear role separation between stakeholders, communication and trust building.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106056
JournalMarine Policy
Volume162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Conflict resolution
  • Fisheries management
  • Interviews
  • Perceptions
  • Stakeholder participation
  • Trust

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