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Changes in Scottish coastal fishing communities - Understanding socio-economic dynamics to aid management, planning and policy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Selina Stead


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This paper demonstrates how coastal areas, socio-economically dependent on marine capture fisheries, are working towards long-term sustainable community development. Two case studies (Shetland Islands and the North East region) were selected from Scotland, on the basis of their geographical (island versus mainland) and sectoral representation. The challenges facing these areas are typical for many coastal communities around the world. An outline of the current decline in fishing activity is described, with a spotlight on Scotland, to illustrate trends and issues at stake. The relationships between onshore human settlements, employment prospects and offshore activities including aquaculture, fishing, oil and gas, are explained. A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis summarises emerging questions and new developments, highlighting the need to include information on social and economic factors in management plans and formulation of policy. The case study profiles inform on advances in economic and social diversification opportunities, e.g. through aquaculture, leisure and tourism initiatives. In recognition of the declining economic value of the oil industry to Shetland, this community has adopted a policy to identify and encourage potential development opportunities in its traditional industries, e.g. supporting fishing activities. In contrast, the North East of Scotland's approach is to create a more diverse sustainable economy by broadening its business base and re-training its workforce. Lessons learnt from the case studies are considered in the context of how they can aid current developments in policy such as the UK's efforts towards implementing the European Commission's recommendations on ICZM. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stead SM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ocean and Coastal Management

Year: 2005

Volume: 48

Issue: 9-10

Pages: 670-692

Print publication date: 01/01/2005

ISSN (print): 0964-5691

ISSN (electronic): 1873-524X

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2005.08.001


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