The economic losses of small-scale fishers caused by Mediterranean monk seals, Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779) in the Southern Aegean Sea: Muğla coasts

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Associate Professor at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University Faculty of Fisheries

2 PhD Candidate & Researcher at University of Helsinki Department of Economics & Management

3 MSc from Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University Faculty of Fisheries

4 PhD Candidate & Researcher Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University

Abstract

This study analyzed the interaction between the small-scale fishers and the Mediterranean Monk Seal (MMS) in an important Peninsula and two important marine protected areas on the southwest coast of Turkey. We surveyed from January 2014 to December in 2015 in Muğla province. Small-scale fishers in the study sites were interviewed to assess the interactions of small-scale fisher and the MMSs including total economic loss of fisher from MMSs, the number of MMS sightings, the reactions of the seals and the fishers during the sightings, fisher’s perceptions on the MMS, and demographic and socio-economic profiles of the fishers. Small-scale fishers from Bodrum appeared to suffer the most group among the locations with an annual loss of $1465.4 in contrast with Datça fishers with the lowest annual loss ($397.6). The annual loss in Fethiye-Göcek ($860.4) was almost double the loss by fishers Bozburun ($492.4). Harvesting cost varied from $6.7 kg-1 in Bodrum to $14.5 kg-1 in Fethiye-Göcek whereas, $11.8 kg-1 in Datça and $8.8 kg-1 in Bozburun. In conclusion, small-scale fishers should be subsidized to cover their economic losses caused by MMSs. Furthermore, re-regulating and minimizing the relation between fishing areas and MMS habitats, and raising the awareness of the fishers about the MMS can be essential in minimizing the negative interaction. We also recommend the use of economic indicators such as DPUE rather than absolute values to better understand and illustrate the negative economic impact of MMSs.

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