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Are fisheries-dependent communities in Scotland really maritime-dependent communities?

Lookup NU author(s): Estelle Jones, Alexander Caveen, Professor Tim Gray



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


It is often said that fishing is not a job, but a way of life. The traditions, culture and structure of fishing in coastal communities have been built over the centuries, supporting their development and sustaining their existence (OECD, 2007). Scotland has one of Europe's largest fishing fleets with 2,046 working vessels; around 4,800 fishers; 132 active fishing ports; and landings which totalled 466 million in 2012. However, during the last ten years, the number of vessels, people employed and active ports have all decreased and are now at the lowest levels ever recorded (though the value of landings in 2011 was at its highest since 2000 (501 million) (Marine Scotland, 2012)). This contraction (or 'consolidation') of fishing activity has been driven by fleet efficiency and policies targeting stock recovery targets which are now showing some success, though, arguably this has been at the expense of some 'fisheries dependent communities' (FDC). This paper looks at community well-being and the links with changes in fishing activity to ask the questions: has a decrease in fishing opportunity had a negative effect on community well-being in Scottish coastal communities?; and if so, has that effect been greater or less in rural compared to urban areas? Community well-being has been measured using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) to compare fishing communities' well-being in relation to other Scottish towns. Our main conclusions are that the decrease in fishing activity has had relatively little effect on so-called FDCs, especially those in rural areas, and that we should expand the concept of fisheries dependent communities into the concept of marine-dependent communities (MDCs) to encapsulate the impacts the range of marine industries have on coastal communities. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones EV, Caveen AJ, Gray TS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ocean & Coastal Management

Year: 2014

Volume: 95

Pages: 254-263

Print publication date: 01/07/2014

Online publication date: 20/05/2014

Acceptance date: 27/04/2014

Date deposited: 25/09/2014

ISSN (print): 0964-5691

ISSN (electronic): 1873-524X

Publisher: Elsevier B.V.


DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.04.025


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