What has wellbeing got to do with the price of fish: A focus on fishers’ income might miss opportunities for sustainable poverty alleviation
SPACES research informs a call to consider fisheries benefits to wellbeing beyond income. An income focus can miss non-monetary dimensions of poverty, unequal distributions and whether it is spent and saved to improve people’s quality of life.
By Tim Daw and Ida Gabrielsson
For the past four years, SPACES has conducted research in coastal communities in Kenya and Mozambique. In the south coastal community of Vanga in Kenya, fishermen are less likely to be income poor than their non-fishing neighbours. However, they and their families are as likely as non-fishers to lack basic food, water and sanitation needs. This contradiction begs us to better understand how the wellbeing of poor coastal communities are supported by fisheries and how interventions can improve wellbeing while balancing the pressure on threatened coastal ecosystems.
Delegates discussing the global goal on ocean health in New York this week should carefully consider how fisheries contribute to wellbeing, and who gets those benefits. Fisheries interventions are usually focussed on protecting fish stocks, increasing the volumes of fish caught or generating higher prices for fishers’ catches. Many interventions typically assume that fisheries are only about income, and often ignore how benefits and costs are distributed to different people. A better […]
- These figures illustrate how income generated from the reef fish value chain is shared amongst different actors in two sites in Kenya.
- The size of the fish represents the total income generated by the value chain and this is divided into the coloured areas according to how it is shared amongst the groups. So fishers capture the most income in both sites. And male and female small scale traders capture the same amount in Mombasa.
- In addition, the black human figures shows the relative number of people in each group.
So although fishers capture most of the income, it is shared amongst a large number of them, while only a few individuals are in the group ‘Large scale male traders’ in Vanga. Meanwhile there are many more female traders in Mombasa compared to male traders, so each of them gets a smaller share, even though as a group they get the same as male traders.
Based on data from value chain analysis surveys by the SPACES team.
Exploring wellbeing and ecosystem services at the Resillience for Development Colloquium, Johannesburg
Julio Machele, Marlino Mubai, Dominique Goncales, Tim Daw and Thomas Chagneau represented SPACES at this event, which brought together scientists and practitioners working on complex challenges of sustainable development in the context of complex social and ecological interconnections and change.
A session on SPACES results featured:
– an introduction and overview of the political and historical context of development in Cabo Delgado by Marlino
– discussion by Julio of the unequal distribution of ecosystem benefits according to gender, ethnicity and wealth,
– an analysis of how ecosystem service use is correlated to different dimensions of poverty in the SPACES household survey by Tim
– finally Dominique gave a rich picture of these issues in Cabo Delgado through stories, photographs and anecdotes drawn from her experience of conducting the SPACES social science fieldwork.
The discussion with the audience drew on the diversity of perspectives in these presentations to explore the role of ethnicity and migration and the impact of cultural attachments to place. Ignoring such attachments during development interventions, for example if communities are relocated for infrastructure can lead to conflict and wellbeing impacts that might be overlooked by a conventional economic analysis.
Tom presented his analysis of the […]
In Kenya, the SPACES field team is conducting community dialogues in the coastal communities of Vanga, Jimbo, Tsunza, Mkwiro, Shimoni, and Kongowea. The team has returned from the first three sites and has reflected on the process and has recently departed for the next site, Mkwiro.
During the community dialogues, the team is presenting some of SPACES key findings and following up on questions which the community members asked during the community feedback last summer. The objective of the dialogues is twofold. The first objective is to share the findings with the communities in hope to stimulate conversation, understand the communities’ interpretations of the findings, and identify possible actions that can be taken in the communities and by development actors. The second objective is to reflect and learn from the dialogue experience and to continually improve the dialogues from site to site. In the end we hope to be able to provide recommendations to others who wish to share their findings with communities.
The Kenyan team is using a an array of methods from presentations to role play to a theater performance to stimulate the dialogues in the communities. Below are links to the presentations from the first sites visited.
Materials for […]
SPACES has been investigating ecosystem services and their contribution to poverty alleviation in Kenya and Mozambique since 2013. One part of this project has looked at tourism in the South Coast region of Kenya. From 2013-2015 Kenya had terrorism related travel advisories. SPACES co-investigator, Chris Sandbrook, analysed tourism data from 2011-2015 to understand how the terrorism attacks and the associated travel advisory effected the tourism industry and how the industry was able to cope with the shock. The data was collected by Chris Cheupe and provided by Judith Nyunja, Mwanamisi Mkungu, and Roy Muga from the KWS. A brief entitled, “Tourism at the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park 2011-2015: A story of change and resilience” has been produced and will be presented to the KWS.
Key Messages from the KWS brief:
• There was a significant decline in visitors to the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park after the 2013 terrorist attacks. Foreign tourist numbers declined much more drastically than Kenyan tourists. In 2011 there were about twice as many foreign tourists than Kenyan tourists, but by 2015 there were more Kenyan tourists than foreign tourists.
• There are two types of boats that tourists can use to visit Kisite-Mpunguti, local boats and more expensive company boats. Kenyan […]