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02/07/2015

Comments

Genny Francis

Looking at table 1 in the article, most of the initiatives, except for the offshore fishing project, were either first or exclusively implemented in villages where fishing was of medium, low, or very low importance. I was wondering how it was decided which villages to implement which initiatives, and what the rationale behind this decision was. It does make sense that the most expensive initiative of offshore fishing was implemented in the villages with high importance on fishing, and maybe this contributes to why fewer other initiatives were implemented in these villages. I am also wondering if initiatives such as bee keeping and dairy cattle are more suitable to some villages than others. The variation in the number of initiatives in the villages with low or very low importance on fishing ranges from one to six, which seems like a wide range. Are there other factors not mentioned in the article that would cause this variation?

Jack Koch

This article highlights several issues related to a lack of equity that can be caused by MPA management. Because the level of enforcement is the same across villages, and villagers who allocate most of their labor to agriculture face a lower risk of being caught and fined, there is an incentive for infrequent fishers to continue fishing illegally. This is consistent with the issue of early cooperators tending to be villagers with a greater reliance on fishing. While the aggregate marginal cost of society might be equal to the aggregate marginal benefit of the MPA, the cost is not necessarily evenly distributed. That is, the early cooperators are bearing the majority of the cost while the rest of the villagers bear only the relatively low risk of being fined for illegal fishing. This is a free rider problem that policy makers should consider. If possible, an increase in enforcement among less frequent fishers would likely induce cooperation, which would result in greater equity in the form of more evenly distributed cost.

Gabriella Kitch

As mentioned by many of the above posts and the authors themselves, the economic welfare of local fishers is often glanced over when looking at conservation plans for MPA's and other resources. One point that the authors make at the end of their paper, is that the Brundtland Commission, which discusses compensations for the "loser" side of conservation efforts, is still ignored in conservation efforts today. I believe this paper, like the Brundtland Commission itself, in a larger sense offers another example of the disconnect between social advocates/policy makers and scientists. In the case for MPA's, especially in Mnazi Bay, there seems to have been heavy emphasis on the science of conservation rather than the social costs and compensation needed for conservation. This disconnect is often difficult to merge, as highlighted by the author's account of MBREMP official's frustration with their dual role as conservationists and development experts. Furthermore, if countries do not have access to interdisciplinary development experts, as lower income countries usually are due to lack of higher education, the third-party working to make a policy may again overlook aspect highly valued to the locals even if the policy is interdisciplinary in nature.
Additionally, beyond a disconnect between science and social policy, this paper also seems to highlight an issue with being narrow minded in what a potential solution would be. The paper discussed agriculture as an alternative to fishing, and that higher enforcement may cause a shift from an fishing community to an agricultural community. Regardless of the economic impacts of this shift, in terms of conservation, this solution may be short term as additional runoff and nutrients would soon begin to affect ocean chemistry and marine habitats.
Although the solution to conservation areas is most complex, I believe the author's start the right conversation in noticing the intricacies of conservation efforts.

Linda G.

The issue this paper addresses is a delicate one—it reminded me of the account mentioned in class about Alaska. Fisherman in one community went as far as murdering their neighbors to ensure catches because of the rigid one-day fishing restriction. Though the effects/consequences of regulating fisheries in parts of Tanzania did not result in actions as severe as murder and sabotage (as far as we know, at least), the livelihood of the fishermen was evidently affected by the new regulations. When fishing is a person’s career and vehicle by which he/she feeds himself/herself/family, I’m sure it’s very challenging for fishermen to comprehend how protecting the lives of fish takes “precedence” over their lives. I appreciate Ale’s comments. Learning the needs of locals and empathizing with the is crucial. Though as humans we can empathize with each other, we can never understand what it means to live in another’s shoes. Although MPA management is commendable and their desire to promote practicality in the fishing industry is well intentioned, changing the mentality of (generations of) fishermen merits even more care than their already careful endeavors.

Tim Paulsen

I found it interesting that 6 officers were in charge of dealing with a population of 28,000. Although there is only a limited amount of coast, it seemed that steep penalties were the only way to induce enough fear into the population in order to convince them to comply. With that in mind, it seems that the most important way to reduce fishing was a carrot and stick approach, but that the carrot was the most effective. Rather than forcing fishers to limit the size of their nets and imposing other restrictions only, when this approach was supported by different productive tasks (like beekeeping) sponsored by the government, the effect was to further reduce fishing in the area, thereby allowing the population of fish to recover and the local inhabitants to benefit from other income.

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