Fisher Behaviour and its Implications for the Governability of the Inshore Fisheries in Atlantic Canada
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The purpose of this dissertation is to advance a comprehensive understanding of fisher behaviour (i.e., current and former boat owners and crew who harvest multiple species) to strengthen the governability of the inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada. Here, fisher behaviour is defined as individual fishers’ and groups of fishers’ actions that result from the mental processing and social negotiation of change and uncertainty in physical and social environments. Understanding how and why fishers behave in relation to changes in fish stocks and management decisions is key social scientific knowledge for strengthening governability. Yet, there has been limited progress on clarifying, defining, and explaining fisher behaviour in ways that reflect local contexts in the inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada and coastal fisheries more broadly. This dissertation’s empirical research is guided by three overarching research objectives: (1) to critically examine fisher behaviour in peer-reviewed scientific literature for theoretical characterizations and empirical explanations; (2) to cultivate evidence-based insights about fisher behaviour and its motivations in relation to change and uncertainty in Newfoundland and Labrador; and (3) to identify strategies to strengthen the governability of Atlantic Canada’s inshore fisheries, including consideration of barriers and opportunities to incorporate fisher behaviour in science, policy, and management to advance multiple governance objectives. This dissertation used a mixed-method design that combined a systematic scoping review of fisher behaviour in coastal fisheries settings research with a case study research in Atlantic Canada. A systematic scoping review of peer-reviewed papers (n=104) was conducted to examine fisher behaviour’s characterizations, explanations, and implications for governance in the scientific literature (Chapter Two). Case study research included two aspects. First, an examination was conducted of inshore fisher behaviours in Newfoundland and Labrador by examining narrative interviews with inshore fishers (n=26) (Chapter Three). Second, an assessment of governance for the inshore fisheries was conducted to identify strategies for the Canadian federal government to draw on fisher behaviour comprehensively in the governance of the inshore fisheries (Chapter Four). Data were derived from semi-structured interviews (n=10) with Canadian federal governmental employees, narrative interviews with inshore fishers and fishing community members in Newfoundland and Labrador (n=41), and a review of documents (n=99) that described and exemplified the scientific, policy, and management approaches for the inshore fisheries. This dissertation highlights that fisher behaviour is a multi-faceted source of social complexity crucial to advance governance objectives. Results reveal that fisher behaviour was a key focus of fisheries policy. Further, examining fisher behaviour provided a lens into important contextual goals and factors that motivated fisher behaviour which, in turn, shaped the effectiveness of management decisions used to implement policy. Therefore, calls for context-sensitivity in fisheries policy and management can be answered with evidence on fisher behaviour and its explanations. Further, this dissertation highlights that the operation of explanatory psychosocial variables—human values, emotions, and perceptions—are critical to anticipating fishers’ behavioural change, as those variables shape how fishers interpret and respond to change in the local context. With examination of fisher behaviour and its motivations, this dissertation contributes novel theory and evidence for fisher behaviour, including its types, explanations, and diversity. Strategies for strengthening governability are recommended. Findings highlight that there are opportunities and barriers in governance to develop and use a comprehensive understanding of fisher behaviour. Methodological and organizational barriers, and interorganizational opportunities can be addressed to fully incorporate fisher behaviour to advance governance objectives. Strategies defined for the governance of inshore fisheries provide insight into attenuating those barriers in Atlantic Canada.
Cite this version of the work
Evan Andrews (2020). Fisher Behaviour and its Implications for the Governability of the Inshore Fisheries in Atlantic Canada. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/16505