Diagnosing ‘access’ matters in the governance of moored fishing aggregate devices (MFADs): A perspective for SDG14b from Malta and Guadeloupe

Type Article
Date 2021-11
Language English
Author(s) Bugeja Said Alicia1, 2, Guyader OlivierORCID2, Frangoudes Katia3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights, Malta
2 : IFREMER, Centre for Law and Economics of the Sea, Plouzane, France
3 : University of Brest, Centre for Law and Economics of the Sea, Plouzane, France
Source Ocean & Coastal Management (0964-5691) (Elsevier BV), 2021-11 , Vol. 214 , P. 105890 (9p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2021.105890
WOS© Times Cited 2
Keyword(s) Policy, Justice, Islands, Sustainable development goals (SDGs), Common fisheries policy (CFP)

The United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have elevated the profile of small-scale fisheries through SDG14b calling for the provision of ‘access of small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets’. Together with the socio-ecological sustainability of the fishery, access to fishing grounds and territories is intrinsic to achieving SDG14b as the governance of these territories determines the access to marine resources. This article contributes to the access debate as it investigates the ways by which moored fisheries aggregate devices (MFADs) fishing rights and territories are produced and maintained through processes of governance which determine harvesting, management and exclusionary rights. To do this, we examine legislative mechanisms and their socio-ecological access implications on small-scale fisheries in two distinct governance contexts, namely Malta, where MFAD access rights are shaped by state-led procedures, and Guadeloupe where access is claimed through informal local arrangements. Both cases indicate concerns of justice and inequality emanating from governance gaps, with fishers owning relatively smaller boats and having less economic, social and political capital facing challenges to secure their access. In Guadeloupe this is resulting from informal territories established through de facto ownership patterns preceding both legitimacy and authority, while in Malta concerns surround the dominant concentration of fishing effort by large and powerful vessels. These patterns, owing to blind spots in policies, are fueling problems related to unjust access to MFAD resources, leading to illicit practices, tensions and ruptures within the fishing communities. Ultimately the article informs about governance responses, with the aim of showcasing what access mechanisms could be developed to enhance distributive opportunities of MFAD fisheries in a way that engenders both their ecological and socio-economic sustainability.

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