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Exploring fishing tourism sustainability in North-Eastern Mediterranean waters, through a stochastic modelling analysis: An opportunity for the few or a viable option for coastal communities?

Ocean & Coastal Management - Volume 221

Abstract:

Many agencies and organisations have recently proposed fishing tourism as a promising way to support fishers and fishing communities around the world. The present research paper explores the benefits from the potential adoption of fishing tourism triggered by a hypothetical promotional action plan of the local/regional authorities of a Greek NUTS-II Region. Fishing tourism is an alternative type of tourism that has received increasing attention by both the central and certain regional authorities of the country, as well as individual small-scale fishers. This action plan, in conjunction with the development of fishing tourism, would alsoaim to reduce the pressure on the overexploited Mediterranean fish stocks by gradually cutting down the fishing effort exerted by fishers who would be involved in tourism-related activities to 50% in 5 years. The benefits of this scenario are estimated utilising specific socioeconomic and environmental indices, capturing in a way the three different aspects of sustainability (economic, social, and environmental). Results indicate that the adoption of fishing tourism significantly affects individual fishers' income. However, income effects significantly depend on the vessel's characteristics, such as their carrying capacity, and on fishers' profiles mainly linked to their ability to promote the fishing tourism activity and to provide a memorable experience during fishing trips. Considering the assumptions made in this analysis, positive effects at the fisher's level are more pronounced in bigger vessels, while, the impact on vessels that can accommodate few passengers (less than four) is more marginal. At the sectoral level, the socioeconomic effects of this action plan seem to be promising, as revealed by the Gross Value Added (GVA) and the labour productivity indices, however the aggregate effects captured by other indices, especially the environmental ones are rather marginal. The potential role of fishing tourism in promoting succession and the employment of women, young descendants, and other newcomers in the currently diminishing small scale fishery workforce is also emphasized. Overall, the research paper highlights the need for tailor-made regional planning strategies for coastal development under smart specialization concepts (RIS3), considering the distinct characteristics of the respective social-ecological systems.

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Main Outputs / Results:

  • Fishing tourism can positively affect fishers' income, mainly depending on specific fishers' and vessel's characteristics.
  • At the sectoral level, a carefully designed action plan on fishing tourism can enhance local development and fishers' wealth.
  • The potential role of fishing tourism in promoting succession and the employment of women and young descendants is important.
  • Α regional tailor-made holistic strategy co-developed by key stakeholders can maximize the potential of fishing tourism.

Contact person:

Angelos Liontakis: aliontakisataua.gr (aliontakis[at]aua[dot]gr)

 

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