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Collaborative development of management options for an artisanal fishery for seahorses in the central Philippines


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Martin-Smith, KM and Samoilys, MA and Meeuwig, JJ and Vincent, ACJ (2004) Collaborative development of management options for an artisanal fishery for seahorses in the central Philippines. Ocean and Coastal Management, 47 (3-4). pp. 165-193. ISSN 0964-5691

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Overexploitation and habitat degradation threaten small-scale, artisanal fisheries around the world. Management of these fisheries is often inadequate or absent, partly because they are data poor. We here present the development of management options for such a fishery, using collaborative input from a variety of interested groups. Qualitative and semi-quantitative assessments of seahorse populations in central Philippines suggest that they are overfished. Management objectives focus on rebuilding seahorse stocks, maintaining income for fishers and ensuring long-term persistence of seahorse populations. We developed a list of 11 management options at a workshop of fisheries experts from a variety of backgrounds. We then undertook an iterative process of consultation involving fishers, traders, consumers, conservationists, aquarists, national and international policy groups. The creation of no-take Marine Protected Areas and minimum size limits for seahorses were strongly supported by all groups, emerging as the preferred options. Tenure over marine estate was strongly supported but may prove difficult to implement in the Philippines. Sex-selective fishing (leaving pregnant males) had moderate support across all groups but may be relatively easy to introduce because of fisher acceptance. In collaboration with international efforts to ensure sustainable trade in seahorses we recommend that a minimum size limit of 10 cm height and more no-take Marine Protected Areas be implemented as soon as possible to help restore this seahorse fishery in the Philippines.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: fisheries, Hippocampus, management, coral reef, small-scale
Journal or Publication Title: Ocean and Coastal Management
Page Range: pp. 165-193
ISSN: 0964-5691
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2004.02.002
Additional Information: The definitive version is available online at
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:13
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