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Recomendaciones de manejo basadas en indicadores para la pesca artesanal con lineas de fondo en Costa Rica, Centroamerica.

Indicator-based management recommendations for an artisanal bottom-longline fishery in Costa Rica, Central America

Small-scale fisheries (SSFs) play an important role in global food security and in the development of the global fishing effort (Swartz, Sala, Tracey, Watson, & Pauly 2010; Anticamara, Watson, Gelchu, & Pauly, 2011; Gagern & van den Bergh, 2013). Notwithstanding, increased production demands on this sector, exerted by growing coastal populations, have occurred (Mora et al., 2009; Worm et al., 2009; Andalecio, 2010; Gagern & van den Bergh, 2013). With the possibility of climate change factors also contributing to the reduced productivity of tropical coastal ecosystems (Doney et al., 2012), the application of innovative development approaches to SSFs is becoming increasingly important. Some of these include the livelihoods approach (Allison & Ellis, 2001), co-management or community-based management systems (Castilla & Fernandez, 1998; Castilla & Defeo, 2001; Defeo & Castilla, 2005), and adaptive management strategies focused on maintaining the productive capacity and resilience of SSFs (Berkes, 2003). The process of designing and implementing such a management strategy must, however, support both social and ecological processes inherent in coastal fisheries (McClanahan, Castilla, White, & Defeo, 2008).

Artisanal fishers strive to improve their general wellbeing, one associated with food security, healthy environments, quality of social relations, and cultural values, by making their livelihoods from exploiting coastal marine resources (Brook & McLachlan, 2008). This means that factors that allow fishers to meet their basic needs and valued freedoms, as well as ones that provide them with a good quality of life, are all intrinsic components of the social structure of SSFs (McGregor, McKay, & Velazco, 2007; Coulthard, Johnson, & McGregor, 2011). Because of this, fishers view their industry as more than just a job, but as a way of life (Pollnac & Poggie, 2008). It also means that fishers' wellbeing is often unrelated to their economic state (Gonzalez, 2011). This being the case, there is an inherently high level of job satisfaction associated with members of this sector (Pollnac & Poggie, 2008), making wellbeing an intrinsic component to SSF governance.

Governance is the role of public and private interactions taken to solve, in this case, fisheries issues and problems (FAO, 2004; Kooiman, Bavinck, Jentoft, & Pullin, 2005). Whether formal or informal, by governments or other stakeholders, in the form of international agreements and commitments, or policies at national or local levels, governance is needed to guide actions and decisions that impact SSF management and development (FAO, 2004). Ineffective governance has plagued the fishing industry and been the catalyst for such sector dismantling activities as subsidy-fueled overcapacity and over-fishing, as well as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing (FAO, 2004). Overarching United Nations implementing agreements established to guide fish stock conservation strategies and the development of responsible fisheries have failed to curb over-fishing because of ineffective regional, national, and local management strategies, many of which stem from antiquated top down, command-and-control approaches (Berkes, Mahon, McConney, Pollnac, & Pomeroy, 2001). For this reason, evolving solutions are needed to strengthen governance systems, preferably, ones that focus on local perspectives and priorities (Bavinck et al., 2005; Fabinyi, Foale, & Macintyre, 2013).

Today it is widely accepted that effective fishery governance should consider aspects of human behavior (Jacobsen, 2013) including fishers' ability to self-organize within the social and ecological domain of the fishery system (Mahon, McConney, & Roy, 2008). This socio-ecological system includes not only the communities where small-scale fishers inhabit, but also the coastal marine environment within which they perform commercial activities (Van Putten et al., 2016). Therefore, the governance of these fisheries is inherently about managing resource use initiatives and the cumulative impacts that these initiatives may cause within a system where human and ecological interactions are linked (Berkes & Folke, 2002; Van Putten et al., 2016). Management of SSFs requires knowledge of the desired future state of their socio-ecological systems, as well as depends on concise goals and objectives, often times established at the community level, that specify what managers want to achieve (Bennett, Lawrence, Johnstone, & Shaw, 2005). Therefore, attracting locally initiated participation through participatory governance or co-management can be an effective strategy towards achieving sustainable environmental, social, and economic objectives (Charles, 2011; Van Putten et al., 2016). This type of SSF community organization strategy should be enhanced through appropriate policy inputs that recognize community-based co-management systems that are people-centered, community-oriented, resource-based, and partnership-based, and the role they play in fostering the development of resilient social-ecological systems (Pomeroy, 1998; Folke, Hahn, Olsson, & Norberg, 2005; Gibbs, 2009; Biggs et al., 2012).

Indicator based-approaches to management are used to define the state of ecosystems and fisheries systems. Their aim is to monitor, assess and understand the effects of human activities on natural systems, as well as the effectiveness of management measures and other decision-making processes (Charles, 2001; Rice & Rochet, 2005). In indicator based-approaches, timely and useful information is used by decision makers to move the fishery towards sustainability (Rudd, 2003). Thus, the knowledge base for management includes indicators and qualitative predictions (Degnbol & Jarre, 2004; Degnbol, 2005). A management system such as this is based on "soft predictability", an approach that does not require a detailed understanding of the processes and the capabilities of quantitative predictions inherent to modern fishery management models basis (Degnbol & Jarre, 2004).

The traffic light method, as part of an indicator-based management approach to fisheries management, as first proposed by Caddy (1998), uses a universally recognized colorcoding design (green, yellow, red) to assess a range of fishery indicators (Halliday, Fanning, & Mohn, 2001; Caddy, 2002; Trenkel, Rochet, & Mesnil, 2007). These indicators have the advantage of being based on readily available data that can be calculated with minimal technical input and provide results understood and accepted by non-technical personnel or stakeholders. They can include price and earning fluctuations, species population dynamics such as mortality rates, catch rates, or levels of by-catch, as well as fishery performance information derived from fisher ecological knowledge and traditional experiences (Caddy, 2015). Results of the color-coding assessment trigger management responses based on the number of key indicators, which have turned from green to either yellow or red and vice-versa (Caddy, 1998). Adopting such an approach to fishery management can potentially give fishers and stakeholders more control over their business and the way it is governed within the framework of a precautionary approach (FAO, 1996; Halliday et al., 2001). The traffic light method has been used as part of the management process for Northwest Atlantic shrimps and groundfish stocks (Halliday et al., 2001), the Torres Strait tropical rock lobster fishery between Australia and Papua New Guinea (Plaganyi et al., 2013), and a battery of datapoor fisheries in Southern Europe (Tzanatos et al., 2013), to name a few.

Because fishery managers in developing countries have limited access to sufficient time series of data for stock assessments (Costello et al., 2012; Carruthers et al., 2014), alternative approaches that identify potential changes in the fishery and ecosystem are often more appropriate than sophisticated mathematical analysis (Caddy, 2002). These approaches, however, must also take into account not just resource and data availability, but also that complex societal structures make the governance of the ecosystems--within which these resources exist--inherently difficult (Bodin & Crona, 2009). These socio-ecological intricacies are present along Costa Rica's Pacific coast where the vast majority of the country's SSFs operate. The natural state of the coastal ecosystems in which these SSFs operate, however, is increasingly compromised by coastal development, pollution, destructive fishing gear types, and illegal fishing (Rojas, 1996a; Rojas, 1996b; Alvarado, Cortes, Esquivel, & Salas, 2012). These factors have given rise to increasing amounts of SSF community members facing economic difficulties, food security issues, and threatened livelihoods attributed to decreasing catch amounts (Rojas, 1996a; Rojas, Maravilla, & Chicas, 2004; Allison & Ellis, 2001). In this context, the need to strengthen the SSF sector with emerging governance strategies is more and more recognized (Pauly, 1997; Allison & Ellis, 2001).

For this reason, the objective of the present study was to evaluate the performance of the Bejuco artisanal fishing community located at the Pacific coast Costa Rica, Central America, with respect to management interventions (e.g size limits), stock status (e.g mortality rates), and socio-economic tendencies (e.g fishers' perceptions). In order to accomplish this, we used the unique approach of combining questionnaire information and key primary catch data analysis spanning a seven year time period (2007-2013), with the traffic light method to assess this small-scale fishery. Finally, and after a critical revision of the results of other similar published studies, we provide a series of management recommendations.


Study area: The present study was conducted with the bottom-longline fisher population from the district of Bejuco in the Pueblo Nuevo and the San Francisco de Coyote communities located at the Southwestern Pacific coast of Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula. Bejuco fishers target spotted rose snapper (Lutjanus guttatus (Steindachner, 1869)) and other bycatch species with economic value during nightly fishing activities. Their fishing grounds are located both within and between the Camaronal National Wildlife Refuge multiuse marine protected area (MPA) and the Caletas-Ario National Wildlife Refuge multiuse MPA (Fig. 1). These protected areas allow local community members to fish with bottom-longlines, but do not permit the use of what are considered more destructive gear types, that include gillnets and bottom trawl nets.

Target species: The use of bottom-longlines by artisanal fishers in Costa Rica occurs within a diversity of near-shore habitats. These areas include mangroves, coral and rocky reefs, areas of sub-aquatic vegetation, bays, estuaries, and islands where up to 80 commercially important fish species inhabit (Quesada-Alpizar, 2006; Cortes, 2007; Wehrtmann & Cortes, 2009). Of these commercially important fish species, L. guttatus is widespread, making it one of the most-fished species and therefore of high economic importance to Costa Rica's smallscale fishing communities (Gonzalez et al., 1993; Rojas, 1996a; Vargas, 1998-99; Rojas et al., 2004). The species can also be found in shallow to medium-depth subtropical coastal waters stretching from the Gulf of California, Mexico, to Peru, whereby giving it regional commercial importance as well (Gonzalez et al., 1993; Fischer et al., 1995; Vargas, 1998-99; Rojo-Vasquez, Arreguin-Sanchez, GodinezDominguez, & Ramirez-Rodriguez, 1999; Andrade-Rodriguez, 2003; Chiappa-Carrara, Rojas, & Mascar, 2004; Rojas et al., 2004).

Traffic light technique: The present study is based on the results of Bystrom's (2015) multidisciplinary research of the Bejuco bottom-longline snapper fishery (Table 1). Components from the author's seven year (2007-2013) L. guttatus population dynamics (average snapper lengths, mortality and exploitations ratios) and bottom-longline catch composition and selectivity study (catch per unit of effort, size selectivity, bycatch, discards), along with his fisher socio-ecological perception (present and future economic perceptions, job satisfaction, historical catch rates, gear use impacts) and governance studies (fisher organization, management strategies, illegal fishing, and protected area development) were organized into the three major sub-systems that exist in fisheries as defined by Charles (2001): natural, human, and management. Component results were compared with the results from similar studies through a review of the published literature. Caddy's (1998) modified stoplight or traffic light approach was then used to assign easily interpreted colors that denoted component tendencies.

A green light was assigned to positive or increasing tendencies and/or a result that was more favorable than those from similar fisheries. A yellow light was assigned if no changes were noted or if there was not enough information available to confidently determine a trend, and/or comparison with other fisheries. A red light was assigned to components with negative or decreasing tendencies, and/or a result that was less favorable than those from similar fisheries. A series of management recommendations was then based on the results of this comparative analysis.


Green lights (positive or increasing tendencies) were assigned to both Lutjanus guttatus population dynamic components (Table 2) because total spotted rose snapper lengths increased significantly from 20072013, and the population's exploitation ratio was at an acceptable level (0.44) during this time period and lower than reported in other parts of Costa Rica (0.50). Two components analyzed in the bottom-longline catch composition and selectivity study (snapper size selectivity, target species selectivity) were also interpreted as favorable due to the percentage of mature adult snappers that were captured and the percentage of the total catch that was snapper (target species). The fisher job satisfaction and the longlines damage seabed components in the socio-ecological perceptions study also received a green light because of fishers' contentedness in their communities and desire to continue fishing with the same gear type, and their belief that their fishing gear does not negatively impact the sea floor ecosystem. The final component that received a green light (in the governance, research, and planning study) was the high level of fisher participation in catch monitoring and data collection initiatives developed by various Costa Rican universities and environmental groups.

Red lights (indicating negative or decreasing tendencies) were assigned to components regarding fishers' economic dependence on their industry, their present and perceived future economic situation, and the quantity of snappers captured in the past as compared with fisher views of the future (Table 2). All of these components were part of the socio-ecological perceptions study. A red light was also assigned to the discards component because they are above the global average for bottom-longline fisheries. Regarding the Bejuco fishery's governance study, fisher associations demonstrated a low level of organization, there was a high instance of illegal fishing from other fisheries in the area's two MPAs, and the fishery was without a management plan that clearly guided its actions. The status of these components is worsened by the lack of a nationally recognized participatory governance structure that promotes co-management governance initiatives. For these reasons the components received red lights.

All other components received yellow lights because they were found to have stayed the same or in some instances it was not possible to clearly identify their tendencies because of a lack of catch data and/or questionnaire information (Table 2). These yellow indicators were: snapper CPUE and bottom-longline bycatch (both in the bottom-longline catch category), fishing distances have increased, and the disappearance of species historically caught with bottom-longlines (both in the socio-ecological perceptions study), and illegal fishing and MPA development (both in the governance, research, planning study).


The traffic light technique was used to evaluate the state of the Bejuco bottom-longline snapper fishery's natural, human, and management systems. The technique gave fishers a recognizable way to interpret the state of the L. guttatus population and bycatch species, which would have been otherwise difficult to visualize. Moreover, its results were also to develop a set of recommendations for the fishery, based on both literature and the results of recent research (Bystrom, 2015). This type of indicator-based evaluation can be replicated to other artisanal fisheries in need of management improvements.

Snapper sizes increased from 2007-2013, which can be interpreted as an indicator that the fishery and gear type does not negatively impact the target species' stock (Ault, Smith, & Bohnsack, 2005; Shin, Rochet, Jennings, Field, & Gislason, 2005; Stobart et al., 2009). To further emphasize this point, bottom-longline snapper CPUE from 2007-2013 showed no changes (Bystrom, 2015). Based on the results of these components, the only management precaution recommended at this time regarding Bejuco bottom-longline effort is that the fishery should not increase from its current levels. This recommendation should, however, be taken with a note of caution because 94% of fishers firmly agree that there are fewer snappers today than there were over a decade ago, and 47% believe that the distances they travel to find snappers have increased (Bystrom, 2015). Because the Costa Rican snapper fishery's fleet dynamics include the artisanal longline and gillnet sectors, as well as the shrimp trawl fishery, it is possible that its technological interdependence is such that these different fisheries target and therefore impact different components of the snapper population's structure (Anderson & Seijo, 2010). Andrade-Rodriguez (2003) demonstrated how the Guatemalan trawl fleet captured snappers significantly smaller than the artisanal bottom-longline fishers catch, a fact that is supported through anecdotal information from the Bejuco fishers (A. Bystrom, pers. comm). Bejuco fishers also insist that gill nets capture larger snappers than bottom-longlines do (A. Bystrom, pers. comm.). For these reasons basing management recommendations on size frequencies and CPUEs alone could be problematic (Walters, 2003; Maunder et al., 2006). With this in mind, a stock assessment is recommended for the fishery's target species, L. guttatus, to identify reference points (Cadima, 2003) as tools for the management of this fishery. Emerging data-poor methods used to analyze fish stocks have included catch data, similar to that collected by researchers in Bejuco, to determine sustainable yields for data-poor fishery resources (Cope & Punt, 2009; MacCall, 2009; Dick & MacCall, 2011). The performance of these target reference points could then be gauged by a management strategy evaluation (Carruthers et al., 2014). While these techniques should be used to further analyze the Bejuco bottom-longline fishery's data, they should be implemented in conjunction with strategies that continue monitoring snapper catch and environmental data for future analysis.

Snapper mortality is at an acceptable level according to the criteria proposed by Cushing (1968) and Gulland (1971). By comparison, it is lower than Vargas' (1998-99) study for the species in the nearby Golfo de Nicoya and higher than the Gulf of California's stock (Amezcua, Soto-Avila, & Green-Ruiz, 2006). Because of the existence of other fisheries operating on the local snapper stock and their influence on snapper mortality, continued monitoring and enforcement measures to ensure that no illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities occur within the area's MPAs are advised. The fishery's multi-specific characteristics also attenuate this study's estimation of bottom-longline snapper mortality as an effective indicator of the stock's health because the cumulative impacts that other gear types (gill nets and trawl nets) exert on the stock were not considered. Gimenez-Hurtado et al. (2005) estimated red grouper mortality in a multi-specific Mexican fishery and their methods (including the analysis of the total catch from all three fisheries targeting Epinephelus morio), need to be applied to Bejuco's snapper fishery in order to obtain a more accurate estimation. A closer approximation of mortality, as well as a more accurate estimation of the snapper stock's unit and status (King, 2007) could also be obtained, if the snapper fishery was homogenized to only allow one gear type. This would also make monitoring and management of this fishery more streamlined and effective.

Lutjanus guttatus represents 51.5% of the total number of organisms caught with bottom-longlines in Bejuco, far higher than target species caught with the same gear type in other reviewed tropical and subtropical coastal fisheries (Erzini, Goncalves, Bentes, Lino, & Ribeiro, 1999; Revolusi, Wibowo, & Sahari, 1999; Beltrano et al., 2004; Mamauag, Alino, Gonzales, & Deocadez, 2009; Olavoa, Costa, Martins, & Ferreira, 2011). The results of Mongeon, Granek y Arauz (2013) confirmed that the hook sizes currently in use in Bejuco adequately select for mature snappers. Therefore, no changes in fishing gear and methods are necessary, as long as fishers carry out their activities in conformity with national fishing laws. Attention, however, should be paid to the fishery's bycatch amounts, which can be considered moderate according to Lutchman (2014). Since it is unclear how much of this bycatch is commercialized or consumed locally and how much is discarded, additional data are required to better determine this fishery's discard rate.

The Bejuco bottom-longline fishery is the only source of income for 71.4% of its fishers and any negative changes to the snapper stock would endanger its ability to maintain these fishers' economic livelihoods (Bystrom, 2015). Lower-income artisanal fishers tend to be more willing to leave the fishing activity than those who earn higher wages (Daw et al., 2012). This does not seem to be the case in Bejuco where impoverished fishing community members insist they will continue to fish in the future despite their bleak economic outlook, a decision that is related to their high level of job satisfaction (Bystrom, 2015) and unrelated to their economic state. While fishers in general are apprehensive about a career change because of their limited skills and educations (Teh, Cheung, Cornish, Chu, & Sumaila, 2008), alternative employment in the marine recreation industry is a growing option for some fishers (FAO, 2014). Because of this, development of alternative livelihood options is highly recommended to improve fisher resilience to socio-ecological change, though it is questionable whether or not fishers will agree to undertake these activities (Pollnac, Pomeroy, & Harkes, 2002). Along with pursuing alternative economic options, fishers are encouraged to develop alternative markets for spotted snappers. International sustainability certifications have been shown to add value to seafood products caught with sustainable methods (MSC, 2014), and their development in Bejuco, could allow fishers at least to economically maintain their households while preserving their livelihoods.

Fishers feel there were more snappers in the past than there are now, and that there will be even fewer snappers in the future. Fisher socio-ecological perceptions as they were used to understand historic snapper and bycatch species population trends can and should also be considered in Bejuco for all management decisions (Pauly, 1995; Fischer, 2000; Gosse, Wroblewski, & Neis, 2001; Berkes & Folke, 2002; Murray, Neis, & Johnsen, 2006; Lutz & Neis, 2008; Nenadovic, Johnson, & Wilson, 2012). Because fishers have witnessed the declining population of their target species as well as catch declines of certain bycatch organisms (such as sharks, barracudas, groupers, and congers; see Bystrom, 2015), proactive management decisions that work to reverse this tendency must be immediately considered. These need to include increased enforcement of the fishing ground's protected areas, in order to curb IUU fishing, continued monitoring of catch rates and sizes, and a reduction in fisher economic dependence on this activity. Because MPAs have great potential to restore marine biodiversity at the species and community level (Jones, 2014), fishers are encouraged to lobby for cross-sectorial governance strategies that would give them more control over local resource exploitation, including the creation of a locally managed, comprehensive MPA, located in the fishing ground's unprotected areas, that would better protect the snapper stock from destructive fisheries operating in the area.

In Costa Rica there has been a general lack of a priori technical information used to establish the country's network of coastal MPAs (Alvarado et al., 2012). Furthermore, nearly all of these protected areas lack the inclusion of ecosystem management paradigms, including spatially coherent ecological units or ecoregions like those outlined by Spalding et al. (2007), Baker and Hollowed (2014), and Naranjo-Madrigal (2016) that highlight the importance of using the results of prior biophysical studies as a guide to developing marine spatial management tools.

In addition to Costa Rica's MPA's, the country is also implementing small-scale fishery strategies based on a system of responsible fishing areas. This marine management strategy is considered by the country's Commission for the Seas (CONAMAR)--a governmental body formed in 2013 to create a national political marine development and conservation agenda--to be uncoordinated and lacking civil society participation (CONAMAR, 2013). There is also an omnipresent lack of financial and human resources in Costa Rica that does not allow any marine managed areas to operate with enough personnel to implement a full management plan (Alvarado et al., 2012). Moreover, the country does not have a marine research vessel dedicated to the collection of fisheries data. Local fisher participatory governance and data collection strategies could relieve some of this pressure. While no systems of community-based governance exist in Costa Rica, many small-scale fishing communities, as well as national governmental organizations, are interested in promoting the creation of such systems (CONAMAR, 2013). These initiatives should continue with increasing force, as the development of local management systems has been demonstrated to be an effective institutional arrangement for smallscale Latin America fisheries, in which fishers, scientists and managers interact to improve the quality of the regulatory process (Castilla & Defeo, 2001).

In light of these governance challenges and opportunities, the Costa Rican Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute (INCOPESCA), Costa Rica's national fisheries governing entity, created a management tool called Responsible Marine Fishing Areas (RMFA) (La Gaceta, 2009). The RMFAs are based on the FAO's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995) and are intended to become a zoning instrument regulating SSF activities within a designated area (La Gaceta, 2009). The establishment of an RMFA in the unprotected area between the two existing MPAs inside the Bejuco fishing grounds could provide the framework for more effective fishery governance. The development of such an area, though, would need to be accompanied by a process of fisher capacity building to provide these local community members the tools and opportunities to manage their actions within the legal framework of an RMFA. Because fishers are currently dispersed among three associations (Bystrom, 2015), they are encouraged to form one association whose unified voice can more effectively advocate for capacity development assistance, national regulations, and management suggestions such as those established for RMFAs. Data collection and stock monitoring would also be facilitated, if this population of fishers would be more cohesively assembled. It is, however, not sufficient to dispose of the existing associations if a new all-inclusive entity is without the necessary capacity and authority to implement these management suggestions.

The current ineffectiveness of the three associations is compounded by the fact that the fishery has no management plan for the spotted rose snapper or commonly caught bycatch species. Because L. guttatus is a species with a low growth rate, its population requires prudent management (Amezcua et al., 2006). Therefore, the recommendations of the present study should be used to develop a concise local bottom-longline management strategy that includes the definition of management reference points for the snapper stock, using the fishery's seven year catch-at-age and fishing effort data series, ecosystem impact mitigation, and fishery socio-economic development as its principal objectives. Bejuco fishers already have an advantage in this regard because they have participated for the past seven years in catch data collection activities with researchers, putting at their disposal valuable information regarding this stock's status.

The persistence of illegal shrimp trawl activity within the Bejuco fishing grounds' MPAs and the high rate of capture of juvenile snappers in trawl nets in Central America make sustainable management of the local L. guttatus stock a challenge no matter how much catch data is collected from bottom-longliners (Bystrom, 2015). For this reason, INCOPESCA must also improve its capacity to develop, implement, and monitor resource management measures including gear restrictions within these multi-use MPAs where bottom-longline and hand-line use is permitted but gillnets, trawl nets, and surface longlines are not. On paper, coastal MPA coverage in Costa Rica is considered to provide adequate conditions for the dispersion and exchange among populations of marine organisms (Halpern, 2003); however, few criteria or technical studies have contributed to their establishment (Alvarado et al., 2012). Because the Bejuco MPAs are marine extensions of terrestrial wildlife refuges, they do not have their own management plans (Alvarado et al., 2012), and the development of science-based fishery management plans that take into consideration any locally adopted bottom-longline management strategies (such as the one already suggested) for both of the area's MPAs is recommended as a building block towards community-lead MPA management regimes.

Insufficient financial, human, and material resources have been allocated to these protected areas by the national government, to appropriately confront instances of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing (Alvarado et al., 2012). Without immediate attention to the Costa Rican government's lack of capacity to enforce its marine resource conservation laws and confront instances of IUU, the number of infractions will in all likelihood continue into the foreseeable future (Bystrom, 2017).

Because of the lack of effective enforcement by government, community-based management strategies (be they formal or informal) could shoulder the responsibility and burden of ensuring rule compliance and handling conflict (Agrawal, 2001; Dietz, Ostrom, & Stern, 2003). In many instances, successfully managed common pool resources depend on the ability of users to undertake enforcement themselves (Ostrom, 2000). To this end, some coastal SSF communities in Costa Rica have acquired their own boats and realize independent patrol activities to attenuate instances of illegal fishing inside RMFAs (A. Bystrom, pers. obs.). Fishers who carry out these patrols cannot, however, arrest illegal fishers in these areas, because the only government entity legally permitted to make such arrests is the national coast guard (Costa Rica, 2000). Likewise, access to a patrol boat does not ensure fisher enforcement of resource tenure (A. Bystrom, pers. obs.), as there are other factors that influence fishers enforcement behavior, including social networks, food security, recent catch success, fisherman's age, and personal gear investment (Stevens, Frank, & Kramer, 2015). But while SSFs are complex entities to manage, there is ample evidence that supports the socio-ecological and economic benefits fostered by co-management systems that divide the authority and responsibility for management, between resource users and government agencies (Evans, Cherrett, & Pemsl, 2011).


The first author would like to acknowledge the Costa Rican environmental group Pretoma for its constant support of this research. He appreciates the collaboration of the Bejuco small-scale snapper fishers in general.

We would also like to thank this fishery's three associations (Asociacion de Pescadores de Bejuco-Asobejuco, Asociacion de Pescadores de Puerto Coyote-Aspepuco, Asociacion de Pescadores Coyotenos-Aspecoy) for their willingness to participate in the various data collecting activities required to realize this research. Finally, the authors want to thank the reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. The present study was completed by the first author to partially fulfill the requirements for a M.Sc. degree in Manejo de Recursos Naturales at the Escuela de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Estatal a Distancia, Costa Rica.


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Andrew B. Bystrom * (1,2,3), Helven Naranjo-Madrigal (4,5) & Ingo S. Wehrtmann (2,6)

(1.) Sistema Estudios de Posgrado (SEP), Universidad Estatal a Distancia, 474-2050 Mercedes de Montes de Oca, San Jose, Costa Rica;

(2.) Unidad de Investigacion Pesquera y Acuicultura (UNIP), Centro de Investigacion en Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia (CIMAR), Universidad de Costa Rica, 11501-2060 San Pedro, San Jose, Costa Rica;,

(3.) Asociacion Red Costarricense para el Ambiente y la Educacion-ARCAE, 1376-1011 La Y-griega, San Jose, Costa Rica;

(4.) Programa de Maestria en Ciencias Marinas y Costeras. Universidad Nacional, Apdo. 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica;

(5.) Consultant Services Department, ALNA S.A, PO. Box 11401, San Jose, Costa Rica;

(6.) Escuela de Biologia, Universidad de Costa Rica, 11501-2060 San Pedro, San Jose, Costa Rica;,

* Correspondence

Received 27-VII-2016. Corrected 23-I-2017. Accepted 21-II-2017.

Caption: Fig. 1. Site map for data collection efforts in the Bejuco bottom-longline fishing communities of Pueblo Nuevo and San Francisco de Coyote as well at 10 fishing sites within and between the Camaronal National Wildlife Refuge multi-use marine protected area (MPA) and the Caletas-Ario National Wildlife Refuge multi-use MPA, Pacific coast, Costa Rica.
Results of Lutjanus guttatus population dynamics, bottom
-longline catch composition and selectivity, and socio-ecological
perception studies with artisanal bottom-longline fishers in Bejuco,
Pacific coast, Costa Rica (Bystrom, 2015)

Research method   Study             Component         Results

Seven year        Lutjanus          Average snapper   Statistically
catch data        guttatus          length            significant
analysis          population        (2007-2013)       increase
                                    Mortality rates   Natural
                                    and               mortality (M) =
                                    exploitation      0.43 Fishing
                                    ratio             mortality (F) =
                                                      0.34, Total
                                                      mortality (Z) =
                                                      ratio (E) =

                  Bottom-           Snapper catch     No significant
                  longline catch    per unit of       change
                  composition and   effort

                                    Snapper size      85% are at or
                                    selectivity       above the
                                                      species' size
                                                      at first

                                    Target species    52% of all
                                    selectivity       organisms

                                    Bycatch           48% of all

                                    Discards          Estimated

Fisher            Fisher socio-     Economic          72% of
questionnaire     ecological        dependence on     population have
applied to        perceptions       fishery           not developed
entire Bejuco                                         alternative
bottom-                                               employment
longline                                              options
(N=49)                              Present and       96% of
                                    future economic   population of
                                    situation         fishers
                                                      believes they
                                                      have a
                                                      situation and

                                    Job               92% of fishers
                                    satisfaction      believe they
                                                      have a high
                                                      quality of life
                                                      in their

                                    Quantity of       94% of fishers
                                    snappers in the   believe there
                                    past/future       were more
                                                      snappers in the
                                                      past and there
                                                      will be fewer
                                                      in the future

                                    Fishing           47% of fishers
                                    distances have    believe that
                                    increased         the distances
                                                      they travel to
                                                      fish have

                                    Longline damage   4% of
                                    to sea bed        population
                                                      believe bottom-
                                                      longlines harm
                                                      the environment

                                    Disappearance     53% of the
                                    of species        population
                                                      believe that
                                                      certain types
                                                      of species
                                                      commonly caught
                                                      in the past are
                                                      rarely seen

                  Governance,       Level of fisher   Population
                  research,         organization      dispersed
                  planning                            between three
                                                      that include
                                                      55% of fishers.
                                                      fishers work

                                    Presence of       94% of fishers
                                    illegal fishing   feel there is
                                    (national         insufficient
                                    industrial        government
                                    fleet)            control over
                                                      illegal fishing

                                    Management plan   No local
                                                      strategy exists

                                    Catch             Entire
                                    monitoring and    population
                                    data collection   collaborates
                                                      researchers to
                                                      collect catch

                                    Participatory     No recognized
                                    governance        system exists
                                                      in Costa Rica

                                    MPA development   Two MPAs exists
                                                      in the area.
                                                      100% of focus
                                                      agree that
                                                      illegal fishing
                                                      occurs in these

Results of the traffic light approach that assigned color
indicators to Bejuco bottom-longline snapper fishery components based
on their trends, Pacific coast, Costa Rica

Sub-system   Study               Component, result, and color
                                 performance indicator

Natural      Lutjanus guttatus   Snapper average total lengths 2007-
             population          2013: increasing
             dynamics (catch
             data analysis)

                                 Mortality and exploitation levels:
                                 Total mortality (Z) = 0.77
                                 Exploitation ratio (E) = 0.44

             Bottom-longline     Snapper catch per unit of effort
             catch composition   (CPUE) 2007-2013 unchanged
             and selectivity
             (catch data

                                 Bottom-longline snapper size
                                 selectivity: 85% above minimum size

                                 Target species (L. guttatus)
                                 selectivity: 52% of catch are

                                 Bycatch: 48% of total catch

                                 Discards: 10-20% of total catch

Human        Socio-ecological    Economic dependence on fishery: no
             perceptions         alternative employment options: 72%

                                 Present and future economic
                                 situation: declining: 96%

                                 Job satisfaction: 92%

                                 Quantity of snappers in the future

                                 will be fewer: 94%

                                 Fishing distances have increased:

                                 Longlines damage seabed: 4%

                                 Disappearance of species: 53%

Management   Governance,         Fishers well organized: 45%
             research,           independent
             planning (fisher
                                 Presence of illegal fishing: 94%

                                 Management plan: no

                                 Catch monitoring and data
                                 collection: yes

                                 Participatory governance: no

                                 Presence of MPAs: yes but

Sub-system   Study               Reference for compared study

Natural      Lutjanus guttatus   Stobart et al., 2009
             dynamics (catch
             data analysis)      Ault et al., 2005

                                 Shin et al., 2005

                                 Cushing, 1968

                                 Gulland, 1971

                                 Amezcua et al., 2006

                                 Vargas, 1998-99

             Bottom-longline     Walters, 2003
             catch composition
             and selectivity
             (catch data         Maunder et al., 2006

                                 Mongeon et al., 2013

                                 Correa-Herrera & Jimenez-Segura,

                                 Erzini et al., 1999

                                 Revolusi et al., 1999

                                 Beltrano et al., 2004

                                 Mamauag et al., 2009

                                 Lutchman, 2014

                                 Alverson, Freeberg, Murawski, &
                                 Pope, 1994

                                 Kelleher, 2005

Human        Socio-ecological    Daw etal., 2012
                                 Emmerson, 1980

                                 FAO, 2014

                                 Pollnac et at, 2002

                                 Gonzalez, 2011

                                 Blyth, 2013

                                 Ward Kirkley, Metzner, & Pascoe,

                                 Golden, Naisilsisili, Ligairi, &
                                 Drew, 2014

                                 Van Holt, 2012

                                 Sharp, Parker, & Smith, 2009

                                 FAO, 1984

Management   Governance,         Frangoudes, Marugan-Pintos, &
             research,           Pascual-Femandez, 2008
             planning (fisher
                                 Sumaila, Alder, & Keith, 2006

                                 Jentoft, 1989

                                 Frangoudes et al., 2008

                                 Quesada-Alplzar, 2006

                                 Mahon et at, 2008

                                 Kearney, Berkes, Charles,
                                 Pinkerton, & Wiber, 2007

                                 Halpem, 2003

                                 Alvarado et al., 2012

Sub-system   Study               Fishery, target species, location,
                                 or research topic

Natural      Lutjanus guttatus   Trammel net, Palinurus elephas,
             population          Mediterranean coast, Spain
             dynamics (catch
             data analysis)      Snapper-grouper complex, Florida

                                 Size-based indicators to evaluate
                                 fishing impacts

                                 Mortality and suitable exploitation
                                 ratios (E)

                                 Mortality and suitable exploitation
                                 ratios (E)

                                 Shrimp trawl, L. guttatus Gulf of
                                 California, Mexico, age, growth,
                                 and mortality

                                 Gillnet and bottom-longline, L.
                                 guttatus, Gulf of Nicoya, Costa

             Bottom-longline     Analysis of spatial catch per
             catch composition   effort data
             and selectivity
             (catch data         Interpreting CPUE for stock
             analysis)           assessment

                                 Bottom-longline, L. guttatus
                                 Bejuco, Costa Rica

                                 Artisanal hand-line, L. guttatus,
                                 Utria National Park, Colombia

                                 Experimental longlines, Merluccius
                                 merluccius, Conger conger,
                                 Polyprion americanus, Algarve,

                                 Bottom-longline, Lutjanus spp.,

                                 Bottom-longline and gillnet,
                                 Scorpaenidae, Sepiidae,
                                 Octopodidae, Sparidae, Serranidae,
                                 Mullidae, Labridae, Egadi Islands,

                                 Artisanal longline, Epinephelus
                                 coioides, Philippines

                                 Use of by catch% to develop a
                                 scoring system

                                 Global bycatch and discard ratios

                                 Central American artisanal fishery
                                 discard rates

Human        Socio-ecological    Western Indian Ocean, artisanal
             perceptions         fisher adaptive responses and
             (fisher             alternative livelihoods
                                 Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka,
                                 horizontal fishery integration:
                                 opportunities for nonfishing

                                 Costa Rica, socio-economic
                                 pressures facing artisanal

                                 Southeast Asia, fisher job

                                 Atlantic coast, Nicaragua,
                                 artisanal fishign community

                                 Mozambique, Africa, social and
                                 ecological changes in coastal

                                 Overcapacity in artisanal
                                 fisheries, FAO

                                 Lutjanidae and others, Fiji, FEK to
                                 evaluate heavily targeted species
                                 in artisanal fisheries

                                 Dive fishery, Chile loco,
                                 Concholepas concholepas, Chile,
                                 Traditional ecological knowledge

                                 Bottom-longline, Dissostichus
                                 mawsoni, New Zealand benthic impact

                                 A review of papers on the
                                 regulation of fishing effort

Management   Governance,         Improving fisher community
             research,           organization and social dimensions
             planning (fisher    strategies
                                 Analysis of costs, benefits, and
                                 risks of IUU fishing, global

                                 Co-management strategies for SSFs

                                 Shellfish, Galicia, Spain, avoiding
                                 overexploitation through data

                                 Costa Rica, encouragement for and
                                 limitations to participatory
                                 management in

                                 Enabling self-organization,
                                 learning and adaptation for the
                                 management of complex
                                 human-in-nature systems

                                 Canada, participatory governance
                                 for ecological sustainability and
                                 economic development

                                 Density, biomass, size of
                                 organisms, and diversity inside
                                 marine reserves Global context

                                 Costa Rica, coverage and threats to
                                 Costa Rican MPAs
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Author:Bystrom, Andrew B.; Naranjo-Madrigal, Helven; Wehrtmann, Ingo S.
Publication:Revista de Biologia Tropical
Date:Jun 1, 2017
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