Why do fishers fish? A cross-cultural examination of the motivations for fishing

Young, Matthew A.L., Foale, Simon, and Bellwood, David R. (2016) Why do fishers fish? A cross-cultural examination of the motivations for fishing. Marine Policy, 66. pp. 114-123.

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As pressure on the world's marine resources mounts, it is critical to understand the motivations that influence fisher behaviour to enable effective management. This study employed an ethnographic approach to interview experienced fishermen in Australia (recreational) and the Solomon Islands (subsistence/artisanal) and to provide cross-cultural insight into their behaviour, perceptions and motivations to fish. Although food and income were the most identified motivations by fishers in the Solomon Islands (100% and 93% of fishers, respectively), 75% of motivation categories paralleled those of recreational fishers. Fishermen in the Solomon Islands also expressed an eagerness to actively pursue fishing despite the potential for alternative incomes, possibly reflecting the presence of a recreational mindset. The willingness to continue fishing in the absence of necessity illustrates the potential for growth of recreational fisheries where economic conditions improve. In Australia, connection to the environment was the most common motivation for recreational fishers (96% of fishers). Recreational fishers also perceived that fishing enhanced social capital, promoted respect for nature and provided health and economic benefits. Senior fishers identified young males to be most likely to engage in excessive fishing through displays of machismo, but emphasised the role of fishing in providing a safe environment for youth to vent angst and frustration. These results suggest that fishing activities may deliver fundamental benefits to individuals and societies and that in some regions fishers may be valuable advocates for conservation and social cohesion if their motivations and values are appreciated and channelled appropriately.

Item ID: 42836
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-9460
Keywords: fishing motivations, recreational fishing, subsistence fishing, spearfishing, masculinity, food security
Funders: James Cook University Graduate Research Scheme (JCU GRS), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2016 22:48
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440104 Environmental anthropology @ 80%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441002 Environmental sociology @ 10%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5299 Other psychology > 529999 Other psychology not elsewhere classified @ 10%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 60%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 40%
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